Student sections keep it clean / Aaron Johnson
Being in a student section was always a ton of fun. It made me feel like I was apart of the team. Whether in high school during a big rivalry game, or in college while my school fought for a conference title — I’ve had fond and lasting memories of being involved in chanting and cheering in a student section.
But the issue that some student sections can create, however, is the basis of my soapbox rant for this week. I’ve been to high school games all across the state this year as a journalist, but it was a game I attended as a fan and alumni that made me a bit uncomfortable.
After painstakingly dragging my roommate with me, we attended the SWC conference championship game in boys basketball between Immaculate and my alma mater Notre Dame-Fairfield.
Obviously, there is always pride in watching one’s school compete for a championship and while my roommate, former classmates, and I sat in the stands at Masuk High School in Monroe, we watched as the Lancers knocked off the Mustangs to clinch a third straight conference crown.
It was a great day to be a Lancer, but as the game was played, the two student sections both got into some fun — borderline awkward exchanges.
Well, awkward for anyone from Immaculate point of view, as the Lancers held a commanding lead in the second half before closing out the win.
But my issue came when the language turned a bit vulgar from the ND student section.
Although it lasted for one very brief chant in response to an admittedly questionable call, there was really no place for it and the feeling could be felt throughout the gym.
The rest of the game was a typical high school basketball game, full of great plays and chants from both sides.
It just left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, if I’m being honest.
Now I’m not some foul language nut that flinches at the sound of a bad work. I mean, a journalist uncomfortable with foul language would be like a doctor afraid of needles.
I also understand that the language in the heat of a game on the floor might not always be for general audiences, but to get it from a whole section puts a negative light on the school as a whole, regardless if it’s my alma mater or not.
However, my sour taste was quickly dashed away then next day when ND’s principal Chris Cipriano tweeted out, “While I am thrilled with our team’s win last evening, I am disappointed (here in Camden) to hear about some of the chants from our student section last night. That is NOT acceptable and will be addressed. We are to display sportsmanship at ALL times. I expect better.”
I applaud Mr. Cip’s — as we called him while I was in school — stance on the situation. There was always a standard that was expected of the students that attended ND, but there should be a standard for student sections as well.
Obviously it’s going to be heated, especially in a rivalry or championship atmosphere, and I’m not saying don’t have fun. I’ll be the first to laugh along with a creative and fun chant — and I have been in the past.
My only commentary is keep it clean, keep it respectful. And please, watch the language. There’s children in the audience.
mediact.com; Twitter: @aronJohnson_