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Van Alstyne’s Verbal Assault Team

Leader Photo by Jack Walker  Pictured, from left: Jake Haker, Rhett Barcheers, Zak Jones, Trey Burden, Shawn Wheeler, Will Shepherd and Eddie Garcia.Buy Photo
Leader Photo by Jack Walker Pictured, from left: Jake Haker, Rhett Barcheers, Zak Jones, Trey Burden, Shawn Wheeler, Will Shepherd and Eddie Garcia.

Smells like team spirit to me, to loosely paraphrase a Nirvana song from 1991 that these kids are too young to remember.

Opposing teams that visit Van Alstyne during basketball games are greeted by the raucous chants from a group known as The Van Alstyne Verbal Assault Team, or in today’s term’s #VAVAT.

At a recent game, team members Jake Haker, Rhett Barcheers, Zak Jones, Trey Burden, Shawn Wheeler, Will Shepherd and Eddie Garcia got into the spirit of the event as they greeted the opposition. Barcheers, in the gorilla suit, “The Penguin” Wheeler and Burden, from the “Blue-Man” group, say that their task is to distract the other team and help lead the Panthers to victory.

To do this in the Panthers’ gym is a real challenge because the crowd separation and plexiglass wall don’t provide the best acoustics for this endeavor.

That doesn’t stop the VAVat from trying, however, and they will be out in full force for the remainder of the Panther season. Enjoy.

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