School Spirit has been taken to new levels over the last couple years. And here is the cream of the crop when it comes to "Student Sections" in Arizona Prep Basketball. They have their own website. They post updated scores, rankings, and even have a "Heckler Inspirational Section".
This 2003-2004 season has had numerous incidents of bad sportsmanship, parent ejections, official bashing, in-house bickering and complaints and PT from unhappy team members. But located just North of the 51, sits a group of students that makes all this negativity seem inmature and pointless. This is a feel good story about a group of freshman students at Shadow Mountain High School in 2000 who went "above and beyond" when it comes to school spirit and have brought the "fun" back to High School Sports!
The Hecklers of Shadow Mountain High School. Lets start out with their rules of membership!
Hecklers 10 Commandments
Commandment I - Thou shalt not use profanity
Remember this one thing, basketball is still a family sport. Fathers and sons, mom and daughter, the whole family. Nobody wants to hear you spouting off a bunch of @#$&%!
Commandment II - Thou shalt not insult the mother
This should be obvious. What good would come from saying something about someone else's mother? Is that what we want? I don't think so. Leave mom out of it. We don't need any of this garbage at our games. We want people to appreciate what we do, not resent us for it.
Commandment III - Thou shalt be intelligent
Do I really need to explain this? Know what you are talking about. Remember, credibility lends respect to your task.
Commandment IV - Thou shalt love basketball
Is there any doubt about this? If you don't love basketball, what are you doing here?
Commandment V - Thou shalt be aware of the people around you.
This is a really touchy one. Even though some of the funniest stuff you may have may be about overweight guys or bald guys, the person next to you may not think it's terribly funny.
Commandment VI - Thou shalt be witty
Only one rule to remember here: if you are the only one laughing, it wasn't funny.
Commandment VII - Thou shalt not overkill
Listen, if somebody does something funny in the first quarter, you should not keep ragging on it in the 4th. The more you say something, the less effective it becomes. You must be aware that the same stuff gets really old after a while - especially in the region games against the same teams. Unless something is really working then continue doing it.
Commandment VIII - Thou shalt be friendly
One rule: Be courteous and respectful to all individuals (yes that does include cheer and pom).
Commandment IX - Thou shalt not cross the line
That line is the line of brutality. Look, the players know that heckling is part of the game. Don't make it personal between you and the players.
Commandment X - Thou shalt remember the children
No matter what you want to believe about role models, the children are watching and listening. They hear what you say and see what you do. Be aware of that when you sit in the stands. If you don't know whether you fit the bill, just ask yourself, would you want your best friend's kid sister or brother to sit next to you at the next game? Well, would you?
The Hecklers Founded in 2000:
Charter Members: Brian Giacoppo, Drew Pinnell, Aaron
Vettraino, Richie Gray, Kyle Nyhart, Adam Melsek
Heckler Logo & T-Shirt design: Brian Giacoppo, Drew Pinnell
Website Design & Maintenance(www.hecklers.us): Brian Giacoppo,
2004 Captains: Aaron Vettraino, Richie Gray, Kyle Nyhart
The Hecklers formed in 2000. Charter Members included Brian Giacoppo and Drew Pinnell, then freshmen basketball players, and Aaron Vetraino, Kyle Nyhart, and Richie Gray, also freshmen, along with sophomore Adam Melsek. These 6 charter hecklers heckled the opposing team during all varsity games. The group grew to about 12 hecKlers the first year. The Hecklers bought t-shirts for the playoff run in the 2001-2002 season. Drew, Jimmy and Brian had to graduate from the Hecklers due to playing on the varsity B-Ball Team, so as Giacoppo says, "we don't get to heckle anymore."
Support for this unique student group comes from the parents, fans, and the
In 2002-2003, the Hecklers went upscale and designed a new logo and sold about 60 shirts. (I want one by the way, size XXL)
Trouble on the SMHS Campus:
All Hecklers wore them every Friday to school. And then to the Football games. The plans changed as the administration, Principal, Heather Glaeser and the Athletic Director John Speer, decided that the word Heckler was inappropriate and anyone wearing a Heckler shirt to school would be forced to remove it, turn it inside out, or tape out the word Heckler.
one week later...the Hecklers stand their ground...
all hecKlers wore their shirts to school the next Friday. They were
forced to stage a sit-in that day during school hours in the administration's
conference room when security started rounding up students who had worn the new
shirts. They were given an ultimatum to remove the shirts or be sent to the
office and miss classes...
30-40 students made the decision to sit in the office to protest our right to wear the shirts. The Principal said she was offended by them and tried to categorize us as a "gang" for wearing the same color shirts. The administration recited the dictionary about what the word heckler meant and said they couldn't wear the shirts because it meant "to harass". Then, some of the Heckler parents came to the school to help explain that it was all about school spirit. Finally, the principal told them that the only way they could keep the word heckler on the shirt was if it had a circle with a line through it. After about 4 hours of negotiations an agreement was reached where they would create a new logo, with a circle and a lightning bolt instead and the principal promised that the school would pay for new shirts for all of the Heckler members. Later, the principal told them that they would have to be a school club to get the school to pay for the new shirts. The Principal never told them this because she "thought" they were already a club.
To Legit To Quit:
The Hecklers had their charter written and approved by Student Government and had a teacher, Mr. Kras, to sponsor the club. Next, the principal told them that the sponsor had to be at every game because it was like a club event. Even though they had parents who agreed to be there for them the principal would not approve. At that point they decided to go in it alone, and buy the shirts themselves but then she said that she wouldn't approve the shirts if the Hecklers weren't a club. Finally, a mom emailed the district superintendent and threatened that we would contact the ACLU to represent us. That's when they finally gave in and the Hecklers bought the new shirts themselves to replace the shirts that administration banned at games and school. Even though the Hecklers didn't have shirts for the beginning of that season, they all wore gold and heckled at every game. They ordered 60+ shirts that season and this year ordered 60 more.
The Heckler goal every game is to give Shadow Mountain the home court
advantage, even if it's at an away game. WEll SAID