NICK’S NOTES: Sincere cheer

If you have not been down to Mustang Field to see a Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs softball game, you’re missing out on the most of joyful part of the spring sports season: the cheers of the Mustang softball team.

The chants get stuck in your head, make you smile and help you forget that you’re outside watching a ball game in 40 mph wind. (They also get stuck in your head as you try to fall asleep at night.)

The team developed a different chant for a number of situations and players.

There’s the lead-off cheer for No. 10 Katelyn Kalkman: “Uh oh, here we go, oh no, one-oh.” For infielder Karmann Carroll it’s: “Hey Karmann Carroll, Karmann Karmann Karmann Carroll.” And, my favorite, when the batter gets a walk: “We love free bases, we love free bases,” which is repeated a varying speeds and volume along with rhythmic claps.

Seriously, when was the last time you heard people cheer for a walk?

The cheers didn’t come from the coaches, but rather from the players themselves.

“It’s a good way just to keep them focused and in the game, so it’s just that little boost of support for whoever is up to bat or on the field. It’s part of softball,” said coach Jamie Dunn.

Pitcher Alex O’Connor said the team picked up the chants from other squads.

“The cheers get passed down,” O’Connor said. “We listen to other teams and we’re think ‘Oh, that’s a good one’ and we try to memorize it really quick and then we’ll start it up on the next game so it doesn’t look like we just tried to copy them,” she said.

The team also thinks of some on the fly.

“Sometimes we’re just sitting there in the dugout and we think, ‘What rhymes with two? What rhymes with four?'” said O’Connor.

Dunn also said this group is more boisterous than last year’s squad. The 2014 Mustangs cheered, but not in the uniform way this year’s team does.

“I don’t think we had the whole team doing the same cheers at once. It just was us individually saying stuff, but this year we have the whole team doing the cheers,” said O’Connor.

The team has bonded over the acclaims.

“Everyone’s appreciative of it, and we all have our own individual cheer and that’s been really nice,” said O’Connor.

Spring always takes a few weeks to really get going, and this year is no exception. If you haven’t quite felt invigorated by the season yet, these Mustangs just might cheer you up.