Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Small town pride propels G-R back to state

March 13, 2016

REINBECK - It's not like the only thing to rally around in the Gladbrook-Reinbeck community is sports. It's not a hokey, fictional plot of some 1990s sports film where, by the sheer will power of a couple hundred community members, the team they all cheer for on Friday nights is crowned state champions.

There's a sense of urgency; a sense of passion and commitment among the people who inhabit the towns of Gladbrook and Reinbeck. That is not to be mistaken.

So when the Rebels rose from a century-long hiatus of an appearance at the Iowa boys' basketball state tournament last year - accomplishing the perfect 28-0 season - it's understandable that the emotions and energy of wining said accolade were heightened to the utmost levels.

Article Photos

Signs outside Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School stand to support their students as they pass by them during the days and weeks leading up to the Rebels’ first game at state. The Rebels are coming off a 28-0 championship season and will vie for a repeat postseason run.

This year, as the 2015-16 team sets on yet another glory road - again, not to be mistaken with a famous Jerry Bruckheimer film - the passion is still as great and the stakes are just as high to bring that wooden plaque back to the trophy case that sits outside the high school gymnasium in Reinbeck.

"We looked in the stands on [Feb. 27], and yeah, Cedar Falls is closer to us, but we had twice as many people as the other group," said head coach Scott Kiburis of the Rebels' substate game at the McLeod Center against Lynnville-Sully. "They like to show up for a small school."

The argument can be made that every school has "the best fans in the state, Midwest, country or world." It's become a modern day clich that everyone touts. And honestly, it's hard not to, especially when fans are rallying behind a group which scores nearly 70 points per game.

What might be stereotypical, to the slightest extent, is the celebration leading up to and during the team's state run. Parents decorate the town; friends and peers decorate the lockers. If one walks through the halls of the high school, there are still a few locker signs from the team's state football championship.

While warmer weather graces the basketball fans, showing signs of spring sports coming just around the corner, signs read "TEAMWORK Makes the Dream Work" and "REBEL Pride" cast a snowy shadow where sunlight hasn't been allowed to hit the covered grass. Simply because, much like the winter, the Rebels' season, has yet to be concluded.

"We'll have a send-off [today], and they love getting the fire trucks out and as we go through Gladbrook and as we go through Reinbeck, they're all there," Kiburis said. "And although the kids are getting used to it, they're enjoying it. Not many kids get to do this opportunity."

For a 16, 17 or 18-year-old player, it can be emotionally overwhelming to try and grasp what this all means. It will be second-straight state appearance, a second-straight state title run, yet another state appearance by a Gladbrook-Reinbeck sports and academic team, among other scholastic pressures of the average high schooler.

Yet the Rebel players, some who went through this last year, and those who are going through it for the first time, remain composed while getting caught up in all the right ways, as they set down that course for success.

"It's great. Last year, the football team got to state, and that got us over the hump to get [the community] to state," said junior captain Joe Smoldt. "Then the basketball team got to state for the first time ever, and that was really big. And winning the state championship was really big for us. Then football winning the state championship this year we're kind of getting used to it. It's just so nice to have everybody come support us every game and knowing they have high expectations for us, we like to live up to those high expectations. We know we can do that."

Sports have always given people an escape, whether that's been from something as small as that geometry test some students will try to take next week after state tournament jubilance has subsided, or all the way up the chain to professional sports giving a release from the pressures of the World Wars. The players are ready. The fans are excited. The towns are confident.

"Oh man, they're pumped. They're excited," said senior captain Colton Dinsdale. "We're just here trying to keep the streak going, getting back to state. Everyone loves it here, coming from a small town. Never being there before, before last year, not going to state very much. But now, being there with other sports, back-to-back so much, everyone just loves it and everyone just strives off of it."

As the season winds down, and only eight teams (Classes 1A-4A) will have the maximum three games remaining, the Rebels are, in fact, just getting started.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web