Schools: Reign in your student jeering (cheering) sections
Originally published: Mar 6, 2014 - 12:00 am
I attended a softball game earlier this week between Red Mountain and Hamilton at Hamilton High and the atmosphere was splendid to take in a game on a nice, nearly spring afternoon. About 45 minutes to an hour later, a collection of Hamilton baseball players (don't know exactly what level(s) was done with practice and decided to check out the action at the softball field across the parking lot.
Trouble is they weren't there to root on their female counterparts. They were there to harass and heckle the opposition, most of it way over the top. From what I could tell, noone intervened for the first 45 minutes or so of their "cheering". Nearly everything vocalized was derogatory toward Red Mountain, with an occasional way to go Hamilton. The jeerers were even reading verbatim from the twitter account of one of the opposition's players and making fun of other players in a variety of ways.
Why school administrators didn't get on this quickly, I don't know. Why security didn't get on it until the game was nearly over, I don't know. Why umpires didn't say something or clear that portion of the stands at some point, I don't know.
All I know is something should have been done much sooner. If all a cheering section is going to do is make fun of and ridicule the opposition there is no place for it. Hopefully at the end someone from Hamilton did tell the guys to pipe down or leave. I did hear a plea very late from someone I hope represented Hamilton to "Tone it down." A few minutes later the baseballers left. That doesn't reflect well on those players and ultimately the school.
This is not to single out Hamilton High. I heard so much trash coming from fans and student fans from several towns, schools the past week at state basketball playoffs, it's hard to know if fans really come out to support their team or are only there to unload on the opponent.
With a lot of spring sporting events to come the next three months, it might be wise for schools to remind students, fans and players from other sports if they are going to back their teams -- back them. Don't spend your time jeering the other team. Try encouraging your own. It may be boring not to to make a spectacle of yourself, but if you're that hard up for attention, go somewhere else. Everyone else will enjoy the event much more.
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