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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...


"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Cheering suspensions

Cheers and Jeers: So I hear through the grapevine that students in the student section are being suspended from games because they are participating in inappropriate and derogatory cheers during the games. Sigh. As I've discussed before, the section 2 code of conduct does lay down the law on this topic, however ridiculous it is. The problem is that the code is largely unenforced (ever seen someone thrown out for booing?), so the school can use it to basically punish whoever they want, whenever they want. Since almost everyone is technically violating the code ( it's that ridiculous, just read it) it's pretty easy for the school to come down hard as soon as they've had enough of someone. And it seems they've just about had about enough of the Shaker 6th man's enthusiasm. God forbid.

The problem is, however, that the student section at Shaker is actually quite well-behaved: they aren't vulgar, no one's throwing anything, and there aren't any fights. This is a pleasant dream compared to 1991 - instead of drunk, vulgar loudmouths we have students selling T-shirts and painting their chests. Well then. Sure, they harrass the opposing team and the visiting student cheering section, but you know what - they're really clever and everyone in the adult section gets a kick out of it. Two nights ago against Columbia, not only did they have Paul Hewitt laughing, but everyone I was sitting near was enjoying it and waiting on the edge of their seat for what the students were going to whip out next. Same with the Columbia student section: if you think those two groups of students weren't having fun with each other, you're crazy.

And that's another point: if non-vulgar, mildly harassing cheers are going to be restricted, I would hope that visiting school students will be restricted and reprimanded as well. Otherwise the Shaker student section - a huge asset for this basketball team right now - is going to be competing with one-arm tied behind its back. And no one wants that.*** As I've written about before, there's a universal truth in high school basketball that the better the team, the more obnoxious the cheering section. It's like the iron law of high school hoops. Shaker is good this year. The cheering isn't unexpected or an abberation. It's how it goes.

Basketball games are fun, and they are particularly fun this year. And the student section is no small part of that. So give the kids a break. If people are starting fights or showing up drunk or being actually disorderly, reprimand them. If they are swearing or being seriously beligerent, take some action. But if they're chanting in unison for the other student section to go home, just chuckle and get over yourself. This paragraph is now screaming for a reference to 1984 or A Wrinkle in Time, but I'm too lazy to look up a good one, and this is too silly to get militant about.

No harm, no foul, eh?

Tomorrow: my interview with the founders and leaders of Shaker 6th man.
Coming soon: Interviews with Brad Sheehan '06, Jeff Teucke '81, and John Miller '80

***In fact, the only specific violation of the code of conduct I observed Tuesday night was Columbia's student section stamping their feet on the bleachers in unison, a direct violation of Rule #4. Yeah, that and all the booing (also a Rule #4 violation) by everyone there, student and adult alike. Maybe they should have thrown us all out.
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