Applaud The Opposition – I thought only Liverpool & Munster did that

I heard recently of a US High School, Grapevine Faith,  whose head football coach, Kris Hogan, asked  ‘what if half our fans, for one night only, cheered for the other team, Gainsville Tornadoes?’.  You see Gainsville is a  maximum security correctional facility for kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery.

They play all their games away from home. They wear old beaten up gear, lose consistently and never ever get cheered on.


Suddenly, Gainsville Tornadoes had hundreds of fans and cheerleaders and the fans cheered them on by name. The fans even knew their names. The Gainsville guys were stunned, amazed and absolutely delighted. “We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games,” says Gerald, a lineman  whose doing three years. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!”  Another Gainsville player, Isaah, said I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.”


And though they lost 33-14, the Gainesville guys were so happy that after the game they showered their head coach Mark Williams with their squirt bottles as if they were celebrating winning a championship.  As the Gainsville boys were marched back onto their bus the Gainsville coach saw Hogan, grabbed  him and told him ‘you’ll never ever know what your people did for these kids tonight.’

Editor’s note: Thanks to Ellen Nolan for alerting me to this story.

4 thoughts on “Applaud The Opposition – I thought only Liverpool & Munster did that

  1. Being a Liverpool supporter and involved in a couple of incidents of showing admiration for the opposition, I can only say well done to the Gainsville high school

  2. Thanks to a brewery sweepstakes, I had won tickets for two to any two of the many American football ‘bowl’ games of my choosing. I chose to the NFL-Championship Super Bowl, and to the college football Rose Bowl, featuring my local University of Oregon against the Pennsylvania State University. I invited my father (a UO Law School graduate) to join me on the Rose Bowl trip.
    As it happened, we were booked on a package that had clearly been marketed to Penn State fans. We were the only two Oregon fans out of 75 to 100 people on the tour. We made the best of the situation, and participated in plenty of friendly banter with the (many) Penn State fans in our party.
    The game itself was expected to be a mismatch. Penn State was ranked as one of the top teams in the country. Oregon had barely won its conference title, and most people thought they should just be happy to be there. As it happened, it was a closer game than most predicted, but Penn State still won handily.
    When the game ended, my father and I agreed that we should get back to the bus as quickly as possible and take seats in the back, so we could reduce the ribbing that we would receive on the ride back to the hotel. We managed that pretty easily, but it turned out that we didn’t need to have bothered. As each of the Penn State fans got on the bus, they saw us at the back of the bus, and went to the back to shake our hands, and tell us how impressed they were with the Oregon team and fans before they took their seats. Given the ribbing we had all given each other before the game, my father and I were both impressed at the sportsmanship they showed. They were truly fans of the game as well as their team, and showed amazing class on the day.

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