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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

Codes of conduct

The Code of Conduct: A reader emailed in to report that the "Bullllll-shiiiiit" chant that was detailed in the student section cheering essay is actually "Puuuuush-iiiiiit" because they are not allowed to use the Bullshit chant anymore. Also, reader Marc M. emailed me to say that the "We-go-to-coll-ege!" chant that was used against Colonie last year was quickly censored. That's too bad. I'm actually surprised, given the ferocity of the chants I can recall from the 90's.

At any rate, it got me thinking about that old "Code of Conduct for spectators" that section 2 posts on the walls of all the area gyms. I thought I'd reprint it here and offer some commentary. Now, before I went and found it online, I tried to think of the code from memory. I was pretty sure that it was basic plattitudes of friendliness and good sportsmanship, and that it was about 5 items long. The exception to the plattitudes was that one of the rules was concrete: don't be a dingbat while the other team shoots foul shots. That always struck me as funny. Here was this code of conduct for all of section 2 sports, it's five items long and has things like "Be respectful of other people and atheltes," and then they waste a whole item on the foul shot issue. I guess we know what activity prompted the creation of the code of conduct, eh?

Anyhow, when I looked it up online, I found out that the current code of conduct now has 11 items! Here they are, with commentary in between:


1) Spectators are an important part of the games and are encouraged to conform to accepted standards of good sportsmanship and behavior. See, i told you it mostly empty plattitudes. Can you imagine being in the room when they were writing these things. I would have had a hernia from laughing too hard. Unreal.

2) Spectators should at all times respect officials, visiting coaches, players, and cheerleaders as guests in the community and extend all courtesies to them. That's reasonable, makes sense.

3) Enthusiastic cheering for one's own team is encouraged. I guess, athough the items 4, 5, and 7 in the code directly refute this.

4) Booing, whistling, stamping of the feet, and disrespectful remarks shall be avoided. See, I agree with the prinicple of most of the items of the code. But not this one, at least not the part about booing and stamping your feet. And I love the whistling prohibition. I know it's to stop people who do those high-pitched shreik whistles, but it always makes me think that they are referring to the European soccer tradition of whistling-as-booing. Not stamping your feet at Shaker is good advice, you might knock down the bleachers.

5) There will be no rining of bells, sounds of horns, or other noisemakers at indoor contests during play. Anyone who does not abide by this rule will be asked to leave the premises. Makes sense, you don't want people interfering with fake referee whistles. On the other hand, once you get to a level 5 student cheering section, the noisemakers are coming in whether you like it or not.

6) Pep bands or school bands, under the supervision of the school personnel, may play during time outs, between periods, or at half time. Bands must coordinate their play so as not to interfere with a cheerleading squad on the floor or field. Yawn.

7) The throwing of debris, confetti, or other objects from the stands is prohibited. Offending individuals will be asked to leave the premises. This seems more like a custodial issue than a athletic issue. Obviously, if you are throwing things onto the field, you need to be booted from the game immediately. That's no good. But the confetti-in-the-stands thing is harmless, except for the people who have to clean it up. Which it too bad, because the few times I've been in bleachers rowdy enough to have rice and confetti going, it was awesome.

8) During a free throw in basketball, all courtesies shall be extended. There it is! The only mention of an actual sport in the whole list. I'm basically positive that the entire code was necessitated by some ridiculous activites going on during foul shots in the 1960's. And "all courtesies," I love it. Who are the people who wrote this...

9) Spectators should encourage each other to observe courteous behvior. Improper behavior should be reported to the school authorities. This is definitely one that wasn't there 10 years ago. Which makes me think that someone wanted it added to the code because they thought it would increase enforcement. Unreal.

10) Spectators will observe the rules of the local school concerning smoking, food and drinking consumption, littering, and parking procedures. Makes sense, seems reasonable.

11) Spectators will respect and obey all school officials and supervisors at athletic contests. Makes sense, seems reasonable.

I guess the only other thing I can say is that in the last two or threes years, I'm shocked at how much tighter security and discipline is at the Shaker home games, at least in comparison with 10-15 years ago. Probably a good thing - i can remember a number of fights breaking out on occasion in the 90's - but it does stink when the security goes overboard and tries to regulate the spontaneous cheering of the student section. That seems like too much. I don't know. Then again, I'm not sure where to draw the line. Personally, I'd allow the 'Bullllll-shiiiiit' cheer. It's not like it's aimed at an athlete; it's directed at the refs, who are well aware adults and very able to take abuse from the stands. I'd also allow the "We-go-to-coll-ege!" cheer. Sure, it's demeaning, but it's mild and it's not profane. It's hardly worse than "Over-rated, over-rated!," which i'm pretty sure is allowed, and besides, it's funny and no one takes it seriously.
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