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Smells Like Team Spirit
In one of the more unique rivalry matchups in the state, Meridian and Mountain View's students battle it out for the Stinky Sneaker
Published: 1/17/2020 4:13:56 PM

It’s a one-of-kind experience, not replicable anywhere else in the world.

At least, that’s how Jon Nettleton sees it. 

“If you’ve never been to it, you have to go,” said the Mountain View head boys basketball coach. “It’s probably, in my opinion, the greatest rivalry game. In the atmosphere setting, this is as good as it gets in the state.”

And with the next chapter in the legendary Stinky Sneaker saga set for Friday night, it’s hard to imagine a more electric atmosphere in Idaho when the Mavericks pay a visit to the No. 3 Meridian Warriors.

To the uninitiated, a school spirit battle over a dirty old Chuck Taylor Converse might seem baffling. But now in its 14th iteration, the battle of the Stinky Sneaker has skyrocketed into the upper echelon of rivalry traditions for Idaho high schools.

The tradition dates back to 2005, when Assistant Principal Randy Fout approached then newly-hired Nettleton, asking for ideas on how to build a rivalry for the still budding Maverick program. 

“We were at year three at Mountain View, and we really didn’t have any traditions when we separated from Meridian,” Nettleton said.

And in a stroke of pungent genius, Fout offered up the now infamous sneaker, creating what many consider the most unique rivalry trophy in Idaho. 

“It didn’t even have the wooden base on it, it was just the shoe,” Nettleton said. “It just grew from there, and we renamed it after him.”

Fout died in a car accident not long after, and to honor his legacy, the trophy now carries his name, forever enshrining his dedication to the Maverick student body.

In terms of Friday’s game, Nettleton said he anticipates, much like every year, for communication on the hardwood to be an issue as his Mavericks look to upset the one-loss Warriors.

“I talked about it yesterday to my team. I said you’re not going to be able to hear anything at all tonight,” Nettleton said. “Good luck on the other side of the floor hearing anything. But that’s the fun of it.”

The Warriors tip off against Mountain View 7:30 p.m. Friday at Meridian High School. 

“I remember these games as a player,” Nettleton said. “It makes you play harder and is just more fun and more involved. I think the kids are going to have a ton of fun tonight.”

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