DES MOINES, Iowa — The Valley High School-Des Moines North State Tournament game was one for the ages. “They played hard,” said Morgan Wheat, an assistant coach at Des Moines North. “We had a chance to win at the end. Hats off to Valley, they made more plays.”
Following the matchup, some fans were more concerned with what was happening in the crowd. Wheat said, “Everything just blows up after the game and I’m still hearing about it this morning.”
Wheat, who played basketball at Vanderbilt and Iowa State University, has a history with both high school teams. “I went to two state tournaments with Valley High School.”
Valley students had chosen to wear red, white and blue instead of their school colors black and orange. “Any normal person, any educated person can look at that and think what the hell are these kids thinking,” said Wheat.
The Polars team is filled with players who come from refugee families and fans took to social media wondering the same thing. “Kids are kids, I get it, but I do have questions. I want to know why.”
Thursday Valley High School’s Student Leadership members provided that answer by hand delivering this letter to Des Moines North.
To the Students and Staff of North High School:
It has been brought to our attention that the decision by the Valley High School student section to wear U.S.A. apparel at our game last night was offensive to members of your community and fan base. We are deeply sorry if we have offended anyone in any way. We have traditionally dressed in such a fashion for great games such as the one last night. Everyone here at Valley has immense respect not only for your team and players but for your community as a whole. Please know that our intent was in no way to offend or demean—just to support our own team in a way we have done before.
Congratulations on a wonderful season and we wish you nothing but the best of luck in the future.
Valley High School Student Council Leadership
In the fall, Channel 13 witnessed Valley fans draped in red white and blue during a football game against rival Dowling Catholic a private school in the metro, hopeful giving Wheat some comfort after being awkwardly put in the middle of the situation. “It’s a little different because I’m the only one of the coaching staff that went to valley,” said Wheat.
It has become a recent trend where students across the state and across the country take part in themed nights during athletic activities. They have ranged from beach or hunting theme, to safari or American theme.