By KC Jeppesen
Heckling has long been a part of sports, and will not be quickly removed from the sports world. Both cheering and booing are essential to the spirit of competition.
Other SCL schools’ fans make the SVHS players into victims of verbal harassment in the form of heckling, but when those teams come to visit Sonoma they experience no such phenomenon.
“The fans from Analy seem to be yelling at us throughout the entire game,” said Dylan Severson, senior varsity basketball captain.
In previous years, Sonoma often played host to a crowd of very rowdy, but very spirited, fans. However, there has recently been a decline in both the quantity and participation of the fans. Fans seek the ability to express their feelings about opposing teams openly, and when they are cut off from that freedom their unhappiness shows in the decrease in attendance and interest.
Paul Tuohy, vice principal and sporting event chaperone since 2005, stated, “that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has recently developed a new course for coaches encouraging positive coaching.”
“Sonoma works towards complying with the positivity that the CIF wants to achieve,” added Tuohy.
Administrators that are chaperoning the games quickly quash the “cheering” students because those cheers are deemed unsportsmanlike. This includes classic chants such as “Start the bus” and “Air-ball,” both of which are aimed at undermining the opposing team’s confidence, specifically during a basketball game.
According to the NCS rulebook, “fans may not address a member of a team by their name or number.” This rule aims to promote sportsmanship and remove negativity from all aspects of sporting events.
Although it can be perceived as mean, inappropriate, and unsportsmanlike, it’s important to recognize the intentions behind the seemingly cruel chants are not malicious. These interjections are rarely inspired by a personal reason: fans use the shouts and general bashing of the opponent to rally enthusiasm for their team.
There should be a definitive line between expressing your unwillingness to accept the opposing team and personally offending players. Fans should be able to freely express their thoughts about that player’s personal performance in sporting events, his worth to the team, and other aspects of the game.
However, fans should refrain from commenting on anything that reflects that player’s life outside of his or her respected sports career.