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Plant City Observer Thursday, Sep. 6, 2018 2 months ago

What’s on Kline’s Mind? Making an entrance

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Doing little things makes any game feel like a big deal.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

We watch sports for the action, seeing our favorite athletes and teams overcome a challenge and leave with a win. But we’re also there to be entertained and, when a team knows how to put on a show, it’s so satisfying.

Forget about the halftime shows. Nothing gets me hyped for a game quite like a good introduction and I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way.

If you were watching basketball in the 90s, you must remember the Alan Parsons Project song “Sirius” giving you goosebumps during Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls player introductions. College football is always good for these moments, whether you’re watching Chief Osceola plant a burning spear into the ground at Florida State games, the Sooner Schooner at Oklahoma or Clemson players barreling downhill after touching Howard’s Rock. Even though it happened at the end of games, any New York Yankees fan who was around for the Mariano Rivera years got chills hearing his game entrance theme, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

These are all little things that have no physical effect on the games themselves, but they’re awesome for everyone involved. I love seeing our school adopt similar practices.

I was in for a nice surprise last week at Strawberry Crest. The Chargers have always just run out of the tunnel underneath the home bleachers, but head coach Ron Hawn added an extra layer to it last week with a cloud of red smoke billowing out of the tunnel as the band played the fight song. It’s fairly common at the professional level and was popularized in college by the Miami Hurricanes, but that was the first time I’ve ever seen a high school team do it and it got a really good response from the players and audience. I’d like to see Crest keep it going because it really adds to the game day atmosphere Hawn and his staff have spent several years cultivating.

To keep the focus on football, since we’re in season, our other schools also do a good job with presentation. Since Durant added a memorial rock for Ron Frost near its field house, seeing the players huddle around it and lay down a hand before running between the lines of cheerleaders is a cool sight not unlike what Clemson’s doing. Plant City’s run through the banner is a classic high school move made even better by the fact that the team has its own theme song. Raider Nation gets as fired up as the players when they hear the echoes of, “We are… the Raiders!” throughout the stadium.

Though it probably won’t happen, I’d love for all teams at all schools to consider doing stuff like that. I subscribe to the “look good, play good” belief many athletes have and think making a grand entrance like this helps teams bond and athletes get in the zone for the game. The fans get into it and in that moment, regardless of what’s going to happen after the clock starts, everybody’s happy.

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013.

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