Paly and Mountain View students swarm the gym. As shoes scrape on the hardwood, and the starting lineups are announced, yells from the fans shake the gym floor.
The fans from the Paly side were animated on Feb. 5 as the boys’ varsity basketball faced off against Mountain View.
The scuffles and heat exchanged between Paly and Mountain View students during this game are exemplary of the increasing tensions between the two schools. This attitude started following tense interactions between Paly and Mountain View players. Some Mountain View players had posted some mean comments on Jamir Shepard’s Instagram posts, causing Paly players to snipe back, and the games became rougher and more physical.
“Historically there has not been a rivalry between Mountain View and Palo Alto, but this year after an altercation on social media between a few players, when we played a second time the game was noticeably more physical and competitive,” senior varsity basketball player Conner Lusk said.
During this game, tempers flared. Paly students were giving it all to the Mountain View players. They were clearly holding nothing back. On the contrary, the Mountain View side was not talking too much trash to the Palo Alto side at all, and perhaps, they had nothing to say.
“There is a good team, and we’re a good team, so naturally tempers might flare a little bit,” said Simon Minami, a Paly Varsity player.
As the fans’ energy intensified, so did the game. The players became more physical and there were more altercations. The coaches were constantly yelling at their players and the referees. As Palo Alto High began to gain a steady lead over its opponent, Mountain View attempted to change its approach, and the team became more physical and active.
This rapid change in strategy startled Palo Alto High, which leads to some costly turnovers, and their lead decreasing.
However, Palo Alto High did not give up. They became more scrappy and really began to fight for the win. Their vicious defense caused many turnovers, and their lead became safe once more.
“Before the comment on Jamir’s post there wasn’t much of a rivalry, but we were definitely excited to play,” said Varsity player Will Deandre.
Paly eventually won the game, and quite handily as well. Mountain View put up a fight at the end, but it was simply no good. Palo Alto had already staked out too large of a lead with far too little time left.
This single game had a very large meaning. Mountain View started this whole stakeout with the comments on one of the Paly player Instagram posts. That was the fuse that lit the spark to start this rivalry. Perhaps, this rivalry helped give added confidence to both of the teams.
“It does involve social media cause students from other schools want to talk mess to you and get in your head but u just gotta stay focused and let the game talk,” said senior and varsity player Jamir Shepard.”
This goes to show that rivalries can happen from various sources, such as social media. Instagram is a media giant and is very appealing to teenagers. One mean comment could have an extremely powerful impact on the players. This competition also added fire to Palo Alto High School.
Varsity player Justin Byer said, “Both of our teams don’t like each other but they were talking smack on social media. We tried to stay away from that, and we did, and that’s why we came out with the win.”