B-R-I-N-G the N-O-I-S-E!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Lady Eagles’ chatty dugout a source of energy, team pride

Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, may hold the world record for the loudest stadium at 142.2 decibels, but what would the Purdy softball team’s dugout measure?

For years, the program has built its own discography of chatter-box chants during at-bats, creating a noisy atmosphere all their own and blessing their coach with a team-grown energy that has been a factor in the Class 1 No. 1-ranked Lady Eagles’ Final Four run.

“It gives us energy and gets us fired up,” said Lori Videmschek, Purdy coach. “When we are loud in the dugout, we do well on the field, and when we are quiet, it’s usually not good.”

Videmschek said the chants have been a staple of the program since she returned to Purdy in 2014.

“They’ve always done it since I’ve been here, and they come up with new ones all the time,” Videmschek said. “I don’t even understand where they come from. But, they give us the energy to play good defense and hit well. It’s nice they do that on their own. Every once in a while I have to tell them to get fired up, so they start the cheers and get us going.”

Junior Robyn Schad and Dally Craig, dubbed the chant leaders in the dugout, said the origin of the chants is no mystery — they’ve been handed down through years of Lady Eagles.

“I was a manager my eighth-grade year and one cheer we’ve always done is the ‘Ding-Ding-Ding, Round XYZ’ whenever the leadoff hitter comes up to bat,” she said. “A lot of our chants have been the same since my freshman year because we’ve only lost four girls since then.”

As new girls join the team, they get their own personalized at-bat chant, which can be based on the player’s name, number or individual personality.

“A lot of them have just stuck through the years,” Craig said. “Freshmen all get new ones, and they stick. We actually have a new one this year for Robyn, repeating ‘Deuces’ because she’s No. 22.”

One chant, for senior Bayleigh Robbins, was crafted from a song Videmschek played during practice, “A Bay Bay” by Hurricane Chris.

“That’s her walk-up song and she loves it, so it just stuck,” Schad said.

Other chants are situational, triggered by a certain play in the game. There’s the basic, “Too high, too high to make it fly,” and, “Too low, too low to make it go,” for balls pitched, but some can get more in-depth — and entertaining.

“My favorite is when a pitcher throws a ball in the dirt, we go, ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling, the pitcher’s going bowling; get those worms some helmets,’ then at the end I say, ‘Aww, poor wormies,’” Craig said.

Schad said her favorite chant is one that brings out the deeper tone in the team’s vocal range.

“I like the rip cheer, only because it brings out our most manly voices,” she said. “It goes, ‘Rip (rip), rip (rip), get some, get some.’”

A hands-down team favorite is the battle cheer.

“We like that one because we have a lot of 2-0 hitters,” Craig said. “It goes, ‘B-A-T-T-L-E, battle the bat baby, battle, battle; R-A-T-T-L-E, rattle the bat baby, rattle, rattle.’

“Another one we like is, ‘We like it when you hit it to the green, baby; we like it when you make a big scene.’”

Some chants even grow over time, like the one freshman Jessi Hoppes added a line to this season.

“That one is, ‘Holy cow, that’s a foul, move it over; holy sheep that was deep, back it up,’ and the new line Jessi added is, ‘Holy monkey, that was funky, go bananas,’” Craig said.

Both girls said all the chants are so ingrained, no one has to work hard to remember them.

“It’s like muscle memory at this point,” Craig said. “Once you start doing them, they stick with you because they rhyme.”

Schad said that was true for her from the start.

“In my freshman year, I would go home thinking about them and singing them,” she said.

For the team, Craig said the catalog of chants serves an important purpose.

“When we cheer, it gets everyone in the dugout on the same energy level,” she said. “That turns into effort and hustle on the field and keeps us hype.”

Schad said she feels the energy from her teammates on the field, as well.

“When I’m going into the box and hear them, it gives me a fire, and I want to get a hit,” she said. “Then, when I do get a hit, get on base and hear them cheering, it’s like a rush of adrenaline.”

Schad added it also doesn’t hurt when it comes to the mental side of playing ball.

“I think it can make us seem a little intimidating because we are so loud and into the cheers together,” she said. “We’ll do what it takes to get fired up. Some teams have even called us cheerleaders. If that’s what it takes, I’ll be a cheerleader.”

“Me, too, just without the skirts,” Craig added.

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