WEST HAVEN, Iowa—Area boys’ basketball fans left the West Haven Senior High season opener with heavy hearts, as the Cowboys were handily defeated by the Vikings of Decorah High School, 68–33.
The double whammy? There’s nobody to cheer them up.
The West Haven Senior High School spirit squad disbanded midway through the third quarter of Thursday’s game after the girls were confronted with the realization that they had no spirit whatsoever.
“It never crossed our minds to screen the girls for spirit during tryouts,” said spirit squad adviser Jeana Clinton. “We mainly wanted to make sure we could find enough girls who wouldn’t turn up at the games in a drunken stupor. A tall hurdle, trust me.”
The squad, composed of six female students from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes at West Haven, was mostly silent during the game’s first half, and a planned halftime dance routine was scratched when the spirit squad members bolted for the parking lot for a smoke break.
The Decorah cheerleaders, well-known for immense pride in their school’s athletic greatness, decided to unleash a traditional tactic from their playbook: in unison, they shouted “We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how ’bout you?!?!” in the general direction of the West Haven girls.
The gym was relatively quiet, as the game was in the midst of a timeout when the harmonized question was lobbed across the court at the West Haven spirit squad. Looks of terror crossed the faces of the six girls, followed by expressions of realization and, one might say, relief.
West Haven spirit squad captain Kaitlyn Sommers threw up a “W” gesture with her thumbs and forefingers, symbolizing a “whatever” sentiment, and all six girls tossed aside their poms and headed for the nearest exit. The silent tension in the gym was finally shattered by the nerds in the West Haven student section, who yelled out, “Strawberry shortcake, banana split, your team plays like a pile of SHIFT TO THE LEFT, SHIFT TO THE RIGHT, STAND UP, SIT DOWN, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!!!”
A cursory reading of the tea leaves would have easily forecast the potential for desertion by the West Haven cheerleaders. The squad had struggled during the football season—aside from not leading the crowd in cheers a single time in nine games, the squad’s lone show of interest in the action on the field came from junior cheerleader Madison Jones, who entered an on-field melee initiated by her boyfriend, offensive tackle Bo Stevens, drawing a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness in the process.
“It was arguably the highlight of the season,” said West Haven football coach Johnny Levi.