Submitted by Mom on a Mission
I’m not a big fan of obnoxious fans. And what I observed (rather endured) at a recent basketball game makes me question what is becoming of our youth? My kids tell me that I overreact but when a group of 100 plus high schoolers turn their backs as the guest team is introduced I call that jeering, degrading and downright rude. Behavior that only set the tone for the following four quarters during which the student section made it their mission to heckle, insult and diminish our team in “their house.” Well, I don’t know about you but I was raised to welcome people into our home, to show respect and consideration. I’m not naïve enough to think that the other team is going to cheer for our players and root them to victory but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to cheer for their own team and simply keep quiet if we’re doing well. How many times did our Moms advise us “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” This blatant disregard for others is a sad and disturbing commentary on today’s youth. Frankly, it’s also somewhat scary to witness mob behavior. The strength that comes in numbers can lead people to go beyond jeering and become violent. That didn’t happen in this situation but the negative vibe was palpable. So what can we do? My own kids beg me not to say anything because they tell me “that’s just what fans at other schools do” (plus they don’t want me to embarrass them). But I can’t let it rest. I’m of the old school – just because it’s being done everywhere doesn’t mean it’s right. If we don’t say anything, what comes next? This is what many (of my generation anyway) would call a teachable moment. It requires that the adults come together in common dissatisfaction with such behavior and a commitment to make a change. High schoolers may have minds of their own but their brains are still forming. By making strong points and outlining a code of conduct, we can influence new behavior. But it takes effort and requires accountability. If I were an Athletic Director I would make it plain and simple – greet our guests politely and choose your cheers wisely. No jeers allowed. No exceptions. The first offense means removal from the game. It sounds harsh but the message is clear and our kids need to hear it clearly. “If you see something, say something.” Let’s encourage our youth to be good sports (and fans) with attitudes and ideals that will make our world a brighter place.