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Students spruce up halftime

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman Journal Sports Columnist
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The thunderous silence of a good deed can quiet even the most vocal rant of teenage critics. While the papers are filled with the misdeeds of teenagers, many of their positive actions go largely unnoticed. Hidden within the confines of a high school basketball game, a decision made by the student activities class at Placer High reminds us that high school sports can be a breeding ground for good behavior. The two masterminds of this idea were student body president Hannah Peterson and sports commissioner Jake Callahan. They wanted to encourage more Placer students to attend a mid-week game, and they wanted to politely remind people that the visiting team was an opponent and not an enemy. At the heart of their idea was a unique halftime activity. “We had a half-court shot contest which included not only Placer fans but the fans from visiting Foothill High,” Peterson explained. “The winners would receive gift certificates from Taco Bell, Tango Frozen Yogurt, and Dutch Brothers Coffee.” “By including the fans from Foothill High, we wanted to stop the ‘head-butting’ that so often happens at a high school sports event. We are all kids and students. We wanted the boring half time to come to an end. We wanted everyone in the gym to be laughing.” Peterson, who has been accepted to UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara amongst other colleges, might consider a second career as a motivational speaker to organizations such as... oh… how about… our California politicians? At first, the Foothill fans were apprehensive to come out of the stands to participate. But several of the JV players came down to the court and then their friends began to follow. Soon, the court was filled with approximately 50 Placer and Foothill fans taking their turn at trying to make a half-court shot. “Soon everyone was laughing. The Foothill fans loved it, and I was having a blast watching them fire away,” added Peterson. Peterson, Callahan, and the student activities class also learned another valuable lesson. They learned that to make something unusual happen, they would have to address the issue of money/revenue and work within the confines of the school’s policies. Working with athletic director Mark Lee, they found out that the average student attendance for a midweek game was about 35-45 students. Armed with this information, Peterson proposed that the ASB purchase 50 tickets at $3 each to cover the cost of an average night’s attendance, but that any student who showed up would be allowed in for free. That Wednesday night, versus an opponent who had no drawing power, 130 Placer students showed up for the game. Jonathan Adams, student activities director, was grateful for the turnout for another reason. “We want to see as many kids in a nice self-contained, safe environment as possible,” Adams said. Tonight we succeeded.” The Hillmen lost both games that night, but the students watching the game were the winners. One may recall that these two schools had an ugly brawl following the JV football game this past fall, so it made the few minutes the fans spent together on the court all that much more special. Or, as Thomas Wolfe stated in his novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” “Why can’t we just all get along?”