Toughest places for visiting teams to win in Tri-parish area

HTHA denies woman’s discrimination charge
March 7, 2011
Thurs., March 10
March 10, 2011
HTHA denies woman’s discrimination charge
March 7, 2011
Thurs., March 10
March 10, 2011

From the very second an opponent steps foot on Ellender’s campus for a basketball game, the nightmare begins.

First, there’s the walk from the bus into the gymnasium – a neatly kept colorful auditorium that’s no different than any other in the area except for one thing: a painted emblem on the wall with the words “House of Pain”.

The mental seed of what’s to come has officially been planted into the opposing team’s minds.

Then there are the warm-ups and the pregame preparations leading up to the battle.

Professional disc jockeys – yes, pros – spin tracks that take the atmosphere to a new level, getting everyone in the building ready for basketball.

While the work they do is fabulous, the job is ultimately easy, as they are working in front of several hundred willing instruments who don’t need any excuse, rhyme or reason to make noise – and plenty of it.

Then the starting lineups are announced and finally – tip off.

Welcome to 32 Minutes of Pain, a longstanding tradition of Ellender basketball that represents full-court pressing, tough, physical defense and ultimately a way of life that has embodied the Patriots’ basketball community.

Man, I love the House of Pain. It’s such an awesome place to experience and when the Patriots are rolling and are on top of their game, it’s also just a place that’s just darn near impossible to win if you’re a visiting team.

So after experiencing most of the facilities at their best and worst in the past year, I’ve got to thinking: Is the House of Pain the most painful venue in the Tri-parishes for opposing teams?

Top 7 most difficult places for visiting teams to win in the Tri-parish area:

No. 7 – South Lafourche gymnasium: Adequately titled the “Tank,” South Lafourche fans turn out in droves to give their team a leg up when the Tarpons and Lady Tarpons are playing. When South Lafourche was the best team in the state in the late 1990s, fans lined the parking lot up to 10 hours before the opening tip to gain access to the gym. Those leftover had to watch the game from big-screen TVs lining the halls of the school. Indeed, the Tank rocks hard, which enables the Tarpons to rock even harder on Tuesday and Friday night home games.

No. 6 – Vandebilt soccer at Buddy Marcello Stadium: In this area, we’re used to crowds of a few dozen at soccer matches. Not at Vandebilt. Several hundred fans pile the seats at Marcello Stadium and do their best to make as much noise as they can early and often. Sure, Vandebilt wins most matches due to superior talent, but having a crowd that overwhelms unaccustomed visiting players helps, too.

No. 5 – Thibodaux basketball gymnasium: There is no place that rocks as hard as the Thibodaux student section when a rival is in town. They show up in droves, make noise and just make things pretty rough for their opponents. They also collectively leave the gymnasium at halftime and retreat to the school’s hallways before returning just before the second half begins. If seeing several hundred yellers and screamers walk into the gym all at once doesn’t shock a 16-year-old, then what would? Thibodaux knows how to throw a party.

No. 4 – H.L. Bourgeois basketball gymnasium: If there was such a thing as a tie, Thibodaux and H.L. Bourgeois would probably share this No. 4 spot. But I’ll give the Braves a slight edge just for sheer strength in numbers. With the district championship on the line in a home game against South Lafourche, one can easily argue the constant pestering of the Braves’ faithful caused the Tarpons to become rattled and eventually break. It’s tough to win in Gray and when it occurs, it’s a definitely a cause for celebration.

No. 3 – South Lafourche Memorial Stadium: From the second the clock strikes 2:25 p.m. and the school day ends, the party starts and the countdown to kickoff begins. You want food? There will be pounds and pounds of it, as the Tarpon faithful tailgate throughout the day. You want music? South Lafourche will have a DJ providing entertainment at most games. You want noise? The Tarpons have the rowdiest, most rambunctious bunch in the area who love their football more than they do life itself.

No. 2 – Ellender’s House of Pain: Yes, I know this is a tough one, but we’re going to have to go with the House of Pain at No. 2 on the list. This place is hands-down the most fun place to experience a basketball game in the area for all of the reasons we listed above. When Patriot coach Scott Gauthreaux slaps the floor and tells his team to “D-up,” opposing teams better be on alert for a steal and an eventual breakout layup.

No. 1 – Patterson’s football stadium: It takes a pretty special place to trump Memorial Stadium and the House of Pain. Patterson is that special place. The Lumberjacks have a small stadium, but they house thousands of people at big home games. How? They open up the field and line people around the field’s track. From that gathering will yield some of the most passionate and rowdy fans you’ll ever meet. You want Who Dat? It was invented in Patterson.

Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Jacks? If we’re counting football atmospheres, the answer in this area is no one.