‘Queen of Heart’
In the stands with Indian River’s number one fan
Hot dogs and baked beans, apple pie and scrambled eggs: who wants some?
If you’ve been to an Indian River High School basketball game in the last decade, you’re well aware that this isn’t a grocery list — it’s a chant. You’re probably also aware that it isn’t just any chant, it’s a chant from the Indians’ number one fan, Queen Bratton, strategically timed to disrupt the concentration of opposing foul shooters.
After shouting out her signature foul shot chant, students in the bleachers usually respond with an enthusiastic “I do!” — and sometimes even begin the chant themselves, most recently at a packed gymnasium on the road during the Indian River/Stephen Decatur matchup.
“I like that, it was awesome because it was support,” said Bratton of the cheer section at the Decatur game. “I need that support. I knew somebody had my back.”
And that isn’t the only chant that Bratton belts out from the bleachers throughout the course of every IR home basketball game and most of the away games. In fact, it’s one of many.
One of her more well-known and entertaining chants often arises when she disagrees with a call from the referees and shouts “what the woo woo?” When an IR player makes a foul shot, or just has a good play, she’ll yell “I like that, do it again!”
But her favorite chant comes when she knows the game is locked up, and gets to sing the entire chorus to ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” — a 1979 disco single by McFadden & Whitehead that to Bratton, signifies victory.
Currently Bratton has three kids attending IRHS: Sylvester Bratton is a senior on the boys varsity team, his younger sister Patrina Bratton is a junior on the girls varsity team, and Isaiah Bratton is a freshman on the boys J.V. team and the youngest sibling of the Bratton family. However, Queen Bratton has had her five older children graduate from Indian River, and has been cheering at basketball games since 2002 — when her oldest son, Patrick Phillips, was a freshman.
Though her children were the initial reason for her attending and cheering at games, Bratton roots for all Indian River players equally.
“It’s the same,” she stated when asked if she shows more support for her own kids specifically. “I still try to show the support for Indian River High School. We need more support, we also need cheerleaders.”
Bratton is particularly proud of the varsity boys’ playoff run this season, and said that she feels like she is a part of the team.
“The guys tell me that they need me and I’m very important to them,” she claimed. “When they see me, it does something to them, I’m their number one fan. They really improved this year from last year. They’re playing together as a team.”
Out of the stands, Bratton is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet, and according to our photographer, who was invited over for meatloaf and mashed potatoes, is a very talented cook.
While Bratton would like to see more support from fans, and hopes that one day the basketball teams will have cheerleaders for their games — for now, it’s safe to say she is the team’s head cheerleader. The next time your at an Indian River sporting event and wonder to yourself where that soulful cheer is coming from, just look up to the bleachers — and join in.