Updated: Sep 9
Mitch Holthus, center, spoke at a spirit rally that was open to the public on Monday, Aug. 29. He took the opportunity to pose with groups of Prairie View students for photos. Below right, Holthus speaks to the crowd that filled the seats in the gym. Photos by Raquel Beltz/Special to the Journal)
LA CYGNE – The gymnasium at Prairie View High School was the place to be Monday evening, Aug. 30. The gymnasium was filled with red shirts and Buffalo pride as the band took the gym floor and kicked the evening off with the PVHS fight song. Some stood, most clapped and some were simply “too cool for school,” but there was no denying the energy pulsing throughout the filled bleachers.
The crowd erupted into cheers as PVHS football coach Kyle Littrell took center court and introduced guest speaker Mitch Holthus, "The Voice of the Kansas City Chiefs."
Holthus' visit had originally been scheduled for July 11 as part of football camp. Unfortunately, Holthus contracted COVID and was unable to attend at that time. When the event was re-scheduled for Aug. 29, it was opened to the public.
Holthus is the longest tenured play-by-play announcer in Chiefs history. Holthus’ extensive knowledge of and career in football has given him a unique perspective on obtaining and maintaining a unified spirit.
Every fan in the bleachers got the thrill of yelling “Touchdown KAN-SAS CITY” with Holthus; not once, but twice. Holthus wasn’t happy with the lack of conviction the first time. After the crowd yelled the second time, He asked PVHS band director Jeff Russell to play the fight song once again on his queue. Holthus then told the crowd he expected to see everyone standing and clapping as the band played; even the “cool dudes.“
Under the direction of Drum Major senior Allee Sombatchareun the band once again played the fight song. This time the entire crowd was on their feet clapping and some singing as the fight song echoed throughout the gym.
The Prairie View football team joined Holthus on the floor of the gym during his presentation.
Holthus spoke to the crowd about unity and camaraderie between all students, student-athletes, faculty and staff. He went on to speak to the crowd about negative talk and jealousy and the impact it can have on an individual player, coaches, the team, the school and the community. He referred to it as “poisoning the herd.” He said every student no matter the sport or academic activity – whether it was debate, art, band, or choir – should be congratulated and hugged or given a hardy handshake when they perform well at competitions, reminding them they are one school, one herd.
The PVHS football team joined Holthus on the gym floor. As the football players sat around Holthus, he spoke to them about leadership and initiative, building the family. He then handed four seniors a section of a 4X4 piece of wood. The blocks of wood would be delivered to Parker Elementary, La Cygne Elementary, Prairie View Middle School and PVHS.
The blocks would then be signed or in some way decorated by each student, faculty member and staff at each individual location and displayed in the offices as a reminder to everyone they are part of the herd. The goal is to come together and create a “family” or “herd” creating an undeniable unity within the district.
Holthus told the crowd he will be on the lookout for the “Friday Night Stampede” from the Prairie View Buffalos. Through the courtesy and support of area donors, the entire student body, faculty and staff of Prairie View school district will receive a gray t-shirt to wear each Friday for the district “Buffalo Stampede.”
Littrell said that nearly 1,200 shirts had been ordered. Additional shirts will be made available to the public at a later time for $20 each.
As the evening ended, Holthus was surrounded by fans with hats, shirts, and even a student ID card for him to sign. He took the time to sign each one that was placed in front of him shook hands and chatted easily with everyone.
He took time for group photos with the PVHS Cheerleaders who in appreciation performed and sang the PVHS fight song for him. Holthus then took time for a quick pic with the PVHS band.
It was a night filled with excitement, inspiration, school pride and an opportunity to speak with and learn from the legendary voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, Mitch Holthus.
The Buffalo football team begins its season this Friday, Sep. 2 at Parsons. Their home opener is scheduled for Friday, Sep. 16.