Today the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) was mentioned in a few articles in regards to its sportsmanship policy it has laid out for all of its member schools. Primarily what is coming under fire is how student sections are not allowed to chant anything that could be perceived as negative towards the opposing team. This includes and is not limited to: booing, chanting scoreboard, and singing the Steam hit, “Na, Na, Na, Kiss Him Good-Bye.”
This seems crazy, because one of the only reasons that most high school kids go to games is to yell stupid shit during the game. Not only that but yelling stuff isn’t usually done because we want to do it for no reason, it is usually for a good reason.
When I played basketball in high school I had fouled out of a game, but when the scorekeeper couldn’t get the official’s attention that I had fouled out I stayed in the game. Upon which I immediately fouled the guy on the in-bounds pass. Everyone in the crowd for the other team was rightfully mad, and the coach was irate. So booing and yelling was well deserved.
Another time I played against a school that I used to attend and the student section actually did a chant saying I was cool because I went to their school for a short period of time. This was the same student section that had someone dress up as an alligator (their mascot wasn’t an alligator) and doing the alligator, alligator eat ‘em up chant (they were the Rails, nothing reptile related).
But under the policy of the WIAA dressing up as an Alligator is not allowed because it distracts from the game and draws attention on the individual.
These are high school students they won’t do anything unless it draws attention on them.
The sportsmanship policy also lays out other ways to be a good sport not just for students but for the cheerleaders as well. The number one bullet point for cheerleaders being: “Understand the seriousness and responsibility of your role.” And also: “Learn the rules of the game thoroughly and discuss them with parents, fans, fellow students and elementary students.”
If there is one thing a parent loves to do is discuss the difference between a charging and blocking foul with their son’s girlfriend.
When things get hostile cheerleaders are to: “Begin popular, positive cheers when booing or inappropriate chants begin.” Because if there is one thing that is going to turn a hostile crowd around is a high kick from Jenifer and signs that say, “Go, Fight, Win.”
Having cheerleaders at the forefront of the sportsmanship might not be the best route for the WIAA. Cheerleaders are essentially the Chess Club of the 21st century. In this era of massive budget cuts to school every summer Cheerleading is usually the first thing to go. Cheerleading was popular in the 50s when girls didn’t have organized sports to participate in. But it’s the 21st century and girls don’t want to encourage the team with a cheer they want to be out on the field themselves. Not only that the decline in cheerleading popularity came essentially from having those “Positive” cheers. An entire student section can command a crowd better than four girls who are just trying to find a way to make their college application look better.
Along with cheerleaders, the media is also mentioned in the Sportsmanship Policy. They are to refrain from “Negative comments towards participants, coaches or officials.” It goes on to equate the playing field as a classroom and throwing the hypothetical of whether or not you would make negative comments to a teacher trying to teach a class. Well, knowing how helicopter parents and social media works no one has had a problem making negative remarks to a teacher, school, or official ever.
The major part of this policy is what you are not allowed to chant during contests. So to help out the 21st century High School student I will provide some alternatives to what you can chant instead so that you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. It is a known fact that once you get out of high school and become an adult and you are on your own no one will ever hurt your feelings and you’ll get to live in a world where everything goes your way.
BOOING OF ANY KIND
This one is easy. If you are a team with a mascot that is a ghost don’t boo in a negative way, boo as if you are an actual ghost. Or if all else fails do the classic Simpsons route and just say Boo-urns! Boo-urns! Everyone has a laugh and we can still yell something about a bad call.
If done in a taunting manner it is bad, but let’s flip it around. If your team is getting beat by a team start an “Underrated” chant. They’ll feel good about how things are going. Or if your team is winning chant, “You had a good run! You had a good run!” Hey sometimes slip up and lose to a team they shouldn’t, no harm, you had a good run.
Instead of yelling scoreboard just chant: “NUMBERS! NUMBERS! NUMBERS!” It just goes to show that you are appreciative of how we keep track of things. Plus, it’s vague enough that no one knows what you are referring to! Is it the score, the time left on the clock, or the years on the banners signifying conference championships? No one knows! It’s a perfect chant.
In a case like, be encouraging maybe chant, “Take a step closer!” or, “You’ll Get ‘Em Next Time.”
Na Na Na GOODBYE!
I think it’s time to sing a new song so if your team is winning. Start singing Sarah McLachlan’s
“I Will Remember You.” With a chorus like this how can you go wrong:
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Think about how positive that is. Hey, I’ll remember this as a great game. Will you remember it as well? Well maybe not for the right reasons. But, hey, don’t let this get you down and don’t be sad about it you have a lot going on for you after this.
Not only that you can do the do-do-do-do-doooo parts which make that song just great.
Now let’s talk about some new things that you could do at games if you still want to yell something out.
THE SPORT YOU ARE WATCHING
Whenever you feel like yelling something out just cheer for the sport you are watching. A simple “Go Basketballor Go Football.” It’s a large blanket statement that can’t possibly be disrespectful.
THE WRONG SPORT YOU ARE WATCHING
Throw everyone off by throwing out terms to the wrong sport. Shouting out, “Swing and a Miss,” when an opponent steps out of bounds will throw everyone off.
So those are a few of the things that you can do to still be within the sportsmanship guidelines and still yell stuff at games. Or if you want, just keep booing and yelling scoreboard because no one ever remembers winning sportsmanship awards when they were in high school, much like no one remembers how well their school actually did in any of those sporting events.