School rivalries heat up, fan ensues in social media


ThisWeek Community News' preseason Super 7 poll, in which the sports staff ranks area high school football teams each week during the regular season, was released Aug. 28 on

Hilliard Davidson received 10 of the 11 first-place votes and earned the top spot by 18 points over Pickerington Central, which edged Westerville Central for the No. 2 spot by two points. Westerville South was fourth, nine points behind the Warhawks.

The news was tweeted, and the fun began.

Within 15 minutes, the Tigers tweeted a shot at the Wildcats over the rankings, acknowledging Davidson's spot and saying "HAHAHAHAHAHA JUST WAIT." It was a confident predication that Central would take its place atop central Ohio -- whether on the field or in the polls -- at some point this season.

Except, it wasn't exactly the Tigers tweeting a shot, and it wasn't exactly the Wildcats on the receiving end.

It was one student section's account reaching out to another, and presumably there wasn't a gym or athletic field in site.

Welcome to 2013, where standing on the bleachers during games cheering on your favorite team, lobbing clever retorts to opposing students and suggesting to play another sport to even the score if your team is losing are only the tip of a 14- to 18-year-old fan's responsibilities.

Many student sections have taken to social media to defend their school's honor at all hours of the day and night.

No offseason, indeed.

It's not 2003 anymore. Or 2010, for that matter. And there never can be too many ways for students to be involved, even if they don't participate in athletics. Being an ardent supporter of your school, through multimedia or otherwise, is a strong alternative.

The proliferation of fan pages on social media took a different turn about a week before the start of football season, when several "battle" pages began to appear. They exhort students to show school pride by retweeting or favoriting their choice in any number of head-to-head matchups between teams or athletes in any sport.

There are battle pages for the entire state and Central District. Nothing is off limits, from school colors to whose freshman team is better to "Grove City's rush attack vs. Davidson's," which appeared last week on Twitter in anticipation of their opening-night matchup Aug. 30.

Lest anyone think football is the only sport these pages feature, soccer, golf, baseball and volleyball have had their turns.

To some, it might be pointless. But anything that fosters excitement, school spirit and community involvement in an age where technology splinters our attention span into smithereens and going to any kind of school athletic event might seem less exciting than a shopping trip, can't be a bad thing.

Go figure that it takes new-age technology to bring us full circle to a time when small towns shut down on game nights -- if only figuratively. Now, they light up electronically.