By Susan Dromey Heeter, InDepthNH.org
Saturday’s State Championship Basketball game of Dover vs. Portsmouth High School boys brought out a lot of fans, bleachers of support, and a plethora of green and white. But two fans stood out – Lori Coleman, mother of Ryan Coleman DHS Class of 2018, and Super Fan Brigham Clark, Dover High School class of 1973.
On the outside, both Clark and Coleman could not be more different. But they have DHS sports in common and have attended hundreds, if not thousands of games. Each has sat countless hours on bleachers, watched exciting and slow games, listened to bad calls, witnessed players shoot and score.
I stood in line with and chatted with Lori Coleman as we both waited in the frigid temperatures outside of the Lundholm Gym at the University of New Hampshire. She held her baby, Ryan, in her arms in the form of a giant cardboard head.
Ryan was due to play in moments and it amazed me that mothers of players did not have their own reserved seats. In my mind, they should have cushioned, plush recliners – thrones honoring all of the years of practices and laundry they have done in order for to their sons to get to a championships game.
Alas, Mrs. Coleman did what she’s done for years. She waited in line, waited to go in, waited to cheer on both her little boy and his teammates. She stood nervously and tenuously, wondering how her #10 would fare in front of so many fans.
And Ryan thrived and played beautifully, poetry in motion on the basketball court, shifting, pivoting, passing with grace and ease. And while Dover lost to Portsmouth by eight points, the cheers in the crowd, the wearing o’ the green, the waving of Ryan’s big cardboard head in the nose bleed section of Lundholm Gym, the victory was in the fans. Saint Patrick’s Day was blessed with a green wave.
And while there were only moments left in the game, I ran into Super Fan Brigham Clark. He’d not missed a home game in Dover and showed up faithfully in rain, in snow, in sleet to cheer on the boys. And he showed up on Saturday, thrilled to see his Alma Mater make it into the state championships, thrilled to see his team in the grand UNH gym, thrilled to the end.
It’s the showing up that counts – in all kinds of weather, in all kinds of March Madness, in gyms filled with fans and those with only one or two. It’s the players, the families, the coaches who celebrate the wins, mourn the losses, prepare for the seasons ahead. And it was especially lovely to celebrate a Saint Patrick’s Day with the wearin’ o the greens, the wavin’ of a big Ryan cardboard head, and the complete dedication of two Super Fans.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.