I have been to four Pigskin Classics and two Bell Games. All as a Cyclone. I attended the 107th Bell Game and this year’s 110th. This year I noticed something different about the two different traditions: Pueblo West, while younger, does it better.
I was not thinking this going into the second quarter as I sat on Centennial’s side in the student section. Getting ready for the game had been all about the “Bell Bash” and a train of decked out bulldog cars following the team bus to Dutch Clark Stadium. At the game all of the students knew the cheers and never stopped repeating them. Standing in the sea of red I wondered “how come my school doesn’t do this?” But my school is not Centennial High School and my school is not Central High School.
By halftime, I was annoyed. As I sat in the midst of the rich tradition of the city schools I thought about the emerging Pueblo West traditions and realized I was happy to be a Cyclone. I began to realize the behaviors around me were annoying. During the introduction of Central’s players, the entire Centennial student section turned their backs, and at one point the crowd cheered “we’re not ghetto”. Really? After leaving the game, Central fans cussed at cars marked red and white. Never after any football game have I heard foul language coming from a Pueblo West car and I have never seen us turn our backs to the opponent’s crowd, even after really sweet victories against both County and South.
Both Centennial and Central have great school spirit; I will give them that, but they have had 110 years to practice it. Pueblo West is still experimenting with getting the whole rival tradition formula down. Thirteen years is not enough for any school to match the “oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi”. However, some traditions are unique to Pueblo West. Our simple tradition of showing class and respect for our opponents is something that Pueblo West continues year to year. The bells and whistles of the Bell Game are nice, but simply don’t compare to the sophistication of Pueblo West.
The classic kick-line performed by the cheerleaders after every touchdown, the county car bash, and the celebratory Sonic run are all part of Pueblo West’s football games, but it is the way students treat our opponents that make the experience truly unique. When the County marching band takes the field to perform at half time, the Pueblo West student section is the first to applaud. Cyclone cheerleaders always include the County cheerleaders when taking pregame trophy pictures.
Pueblo West has made huge leaps in its short existence and will continue to do so, but it is up to future students to keep what we have going and find rituals that are worthy of calling a “tradition”.
We may not have sold out a stadium at the Pigskin Classic, but someday it will happen. Until then, traditions will build and develop to match the Cyclone’s timeless class.