WMMS in Cleveland turned Ian Hunter’s “Cleveland Rocks” a rock ‘n’ roll anthem in 1979 when the radio station would play the single from the album “You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic” every Friday to kick off the weekend. It's a fan favorite for Cleveland professional sports. Arena announcers play it after they win. The Browns haven't played it for awhile, but the Cavs and Indians bring down the house.
But Clev-Town got nothin’ on Warden.
The Cougars softball team has this happenin’ cheer and when they get it going, I just have to stop and listen. It’s a vibe like no other and I’m thinking maybe they should cut a record, call it "Leanne and the Temptations are Rockin' Richland."
Leanne Martinez takes a softball in each hand and beats out this rhythm on the bench that would earn her a spot in the Carlos Santana Band. I don’t know who makes up the lyrics, but some of it sounds like the war cry to launch the Zulu nation into battle and the rest of it falls into these words of support that would do Bob Marley proud. Ashlyn Yamane, Aaliyah Escamilla, Jizelle Pruneda, Lexy Gonzalez and the rest get this line dance thing going. The balls banging out the beat on the bench, kids spinning faster and faster, chanting a vibe that gets louder and louder and louder. Kind of makes you wonder how a team where the average height is 5-foot-nothin’ can make so much joyful noise.
I mean, this thing is choreographed to the point where head coach Wes Richins just turns his gaze back to the field and smiles with a little foot tap going. His boys basketball team can’t bring it like this, but his munchkin lineup on the softball diamond can.
Guys tend to be a little reserved in their in-game support. "Atta kid." "It's all you 12," stuff like that. It’s not to say they don’t know how to rush the pitcher at the end of a championship run for the postgame dogpile, coupled with the douse the manager with the Gatorade container. That's cool.
But girls tend to have that choreographed bounce that brings the energy during the game when it’s game-on.
And of course Warden girls have the combination of “Luv ya Blue” and Carlos bringing on the “Oye Como Va.”
Yep, they play ball. They have fun and they win. But most importantly, they remind the world that Warden rocks! Warden rocks! Warden rocks!
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Rodney Harwood is sports writer at the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at email@example.com