Die-Hard Fans Support MHS Sports

B. Friel

Brian Friel

If you’ve ever attended a Miramonte sporting event, chances are you’ve seen them. As the self-proclaimed “old guys of Miramonte,” the five are in the stands for nearly every game of nearly every sport, both boys and girls.

But what few know about the group is that they aren’t just your average band of grandpas. In fact, none of the five currently have any grandchildren who go to Miramonte. Their loyalty to high school sports isn’t bound by a timeframe, as they have supported Miramonte almost religiously since 1991. Their passions for the games, the competition, and the athletic careers of Miramonte athletes epitomize the purity of high school sports.

They are Jim Stockholm, Paul Nordine, John Mayer, Ray Doorack, and Al Simonsen, and they are Miramonte’s biggest fans.

While the five had never met prior to 1991, each man’s roots have been firmly planted in Miramonte for decades. In 1981, Simonsen founded Miramonte’s first Boosters Club. “Before that time there was only one person who would issue game passes for a small donation. That only raised $800 a year.” said Simonsen. “The football and boys basketball programs had their own fundraisers, but the other programs really suffered from lack of financial support. Equipment was worn out and uniforms were old and had holes in them. My first year as President we raised $14,000. The secret to success was getting a lot of people involved.”

Mayer began attending girls’ basketball games in support of his former business partner and Miramonte’s legendary coach Darrell Hirashima.

Nordine began attending football games in the late 1980’s before switching over to baseball to watch his son.

Doorack joined the Miramonte administration in 1989 and worked as the Vice Principal until 1998.

And then there is Stockholm, perhaps the most recognizable of the bunch. An Orindian since 1953, Stockholm served as the Area Coordinator from 1989-2005 when a stroke forced him to limit his official contributions to the community. For years Stockholm volunteered countless hours preparing gymnasiums, transporting Miramonte athletes between games, and chaperoning teams to places as far as Canada and Florida. For his efforts, Miramonte dedicated the snack shack “Stockholm’s Store.”

“The five of us had never met each other but we all shared a passion for coming to the games,” said Mayer. “Over the years we gradually started get to know each other, and things just really began to gel.”

With their lifetime boosters-member passes and bottomless bags of candy, the five have had the unique opportunity of watching the athletic programs flourish over the course of two decades.

“Throughout the years, Miramonte has not only had a fabulous athletic program, but there has also been a tradition of some really iconic coaches,” said Nordine. “People like Tom Blackwood, Darrell Hirashima, and Floyd Burnsed really laid down a great foundation and set a standard of excellence. The students here are not only phenomenal athletes but also phenomenal students. Being able to watch them compete year after year is just a great tribute to this school.”

Even after decades of loyalty, the group’s devotion to high school sports still shows no sign of slowing down. Their reasons for continuing to attend games are as pure as the sports themselves.

“People used to kid me all the time that I would only follow a winner,” said Stockholm. “Well we’ve been to our fair share of men’s volleyball games, but more than that we just love coming to watch kids play high school sports. We’ve made it a point of going to every league championship game, regardless of whether or not Miramonte is playing.”

“High school provides the purest level of competition,” said Doorack. “There’s nothing like it. We just love being able to come out and watch the games. It’s been a lot of fun.”

But as the years have gone by, the group’s dedication to Miramonte athletics has gone more and more unrecognized.

“We’ve made it a point of trying to go around and introduce ourselves to the community, but there’s always new people coming in year after a year and a lot of people don’t know who we are,” said Stockholm.

So the next time you’re at a game and you see the old guys of Miramonte, stop and say hello. For two decades they have been our biggest fans. Now it’s time for us to become theirs.