'WE SUCK' Display By Opposing Team's Fans Results In Detention, Fame
High school football season is underway in full force this year, which always reminds me of the "glory days" I spent playing football in my youth at small-town Schuylkill Haven Area High School, home of the Hurricanes, mind you. In my senior year of 1975, I had the opportunity to tour Lehigh University as a potential recruit. The University football coaches took us on the obligatory tour of the football field, which to their dismay when we reached the top of the stands and looked down, revealed a different-colored grass that clearly spelled out "Lehigh Sucks" from goal line to goal line, in huge, block letters.
My father, a graduate of Lehigh's rival, Bucknell University, had the inside story. Bucknell students staged a late-night incursion onto Lehigh's field in mid-August, staked out the large block letters, complete with string to outline the letters, then proceeded to apply a strong fertilizer within the outlined block letters. Once all the fertilizer had been applied, they cleaned up the stakes, string and now-empty fertilizer bags, and left the scene of the crime without any evidence remaining.
The weeks ticked by to the near end-of-the-season game with Bucknell, and sure enough right on cue, the fertilizer had done its trick and the big letters greeted the Leheigh fans, insulting the home team. The planning and execution made the prank just that much sweeter.
Things have changed, however, at least from the presentation standpoint. The level of planning and execution remain the same.
In the town of Hilliard, Ohio, a small suburb outside Columbus, two crosstown rival high schools, Darby and Davidson, duke it out each year for football bragging rights. The pre-game festivities include the obligatory pranks back and forth, including the message "You Suck" scrawled on a car window in the Davidson High School parking lot. That message apparently got high school senior Kyle Garchar thinking and scheming.
He plotted revenge, and sweet revenge it was because he captured it on video and posted the return insult on You Tube.
Kyle and two of his fellow seniors, Danielle Jewell and Jen Trimmer, at Davidson High School mapped out the stadium stands and created a schematic of black and white blocks to spell out letters, just like the pranksters from Bucknell. In fact, Kyle likely got the inspiration from a similar stadium prank pulled by Yale University students at a Yale-Harvard University football game in 2004 by the now infamous "Harvard Pep Squad," which was actually about 20 Yale students who are now enshrined in the Yale Hall of Fame.
This type of prank first got started in the early 1960s, with the Great Rose Bowl Hoax in a game between the Washington Huskies and the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a card stunt that's been labeled as one of the "[f]ew college pranks can be said to be more grandly conceived, carefully planned, flawlessly executed, and publicly dramatic," according to Neil Steinberg, the author of If At All Possible Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks. In that stunt, fourteen CalTech students broke into the hotel room of the Huskies' cheerleaders and substituted 2,232 instruction sheets for the card stunts preformed in the stands, which resulted in misspellings of the Huskies' name and infamously displayed "CalTech," previously a largely ignored school near the Rose Bowl, which TV broadcast of the game succeeded in gaining the desired notereity for the school.
In Kyle's case, he and his two friends passed out the black and white colored pages in the stands, which contained a note stapled to the back with the Darby High School panther, encouraging participation by everyone in the stands to spell out "Go Darby" at the beginning of the third quarter. At the prescribed time, everyone flashed the monochromatic pages and held them high above their heads.
For his trouble, Kyle and his two friends were suspended for three days worth of detention and banned from extracurricular activities for the remainder of the semester. In their fellow Davidson High School friends' eyes, however, they are heroes, even though Darby won the August 24 season opener, 21-10.