Wild football Friday nights in the meme generation
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org October 27, 2012 2:34AM
Lincoln-Way East students cheer on the Griffins during their first round football playoff game against Plainfield Central in Frankfort Friday, October 26, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 27, 2012 10:16PM
The Plainfield Central Wildcats faced an overpowering opponent, Lincoln-Way East, on Friday night in Round 1 of the Class 8A football playoffs.
The Wildcats were on rival turf.
They faced a loud rival cheering section.
And even worse: They were in that weird part of YouTube.
In the Lincoln-Way East student section, the wild guys wearing blue and black paint were giving interviews to a reporter. Pat Shehane, a senior, was next in line. When the reporter approached him, Shehane delivered one of the most outrageous, eminently cool one-liners from YouTube meme history.
“I like turtles.”
You’ve seen this video, haven’t you?
The zombie-like accent? Shehane nailed it. The wearing of paint? It perfectly matched the legendary video. The perplexed reporter, desperately trying to recover from an awkward moment? Oh, yes, that was there, too.
“We’re going to be out here every single game, cheering on our team,” Shehane said, now serious and confident.
Specifically, Shehane likes the turtles with blue, black and white shells — the armored Lincoln-Way East Griffins, who took command of the football field with a 47-22 victory over Plainfield Central.
“It’s the first round of the playoffs for our team — we’re excited,” said Scott Hammond, a senior wearing the blue and black paint. “It’s a new year for us.”
“We like to keep it pumped up, high spirited, and it’s a great way to stay in shape,” said Joe Piscia, a senior who was part of Shehane and Hammond’s black-and-blue crew.
For every bunch of high school guys, gathered in their friend’s room, cracking up at the latest YouTube meme — there is a mom downstairs. She’s shaking her head when the outbursts of laughter erupt. “What are they doing up there?”
These moms and dads invest a lot of time and emotion into their son’s football experience. They are the dedicated Boosters who sell food, beverages and spirit wear at the concession stand.
“The Boosters Club, we have 21 active members who invest hundreds of hours. The football parents are amazing,” said Patty Contey, Lincoln-Way East club president.
Patty’s husband, Mark, was with her at the concession stand Friday night. So were parents Nancy Rosenbaum, Debbie Witt, Jo Ann Durling and Ed Mahoney. Patty also credited longtime volunteer Sharon Duffin.
Every age has its own identity. Whether you grew up with TV in the ’50s, video games in the ’80s, or YouTube now, there is a certain part of American history that is yours.
And with a playoff run, East wants to make the most of these years.
“We love watching football. It doesn’t matter the weather. We’re out here every week to cheer on the team,” said Tommy Piet, wearing black and blue paint.
“We try to get these people as wound up as we can,” Colin Bourke said of the loud cheering section. “They’re out here to do the same thing we are. They love doing it, and I love doing it.”
While Durling worked in the concession stand, she watched Providence beat Bradley 44-7. The game was right there on her iPhone.
There will be a clash of the turtles on Route 30 next week.