Free the fans


I  fear that we have reached a point where having fun, free speech and school spirit is being limited by a political correctness and ultra-sensitivity that have swept across this nation. It is evident in the way that the administration constantly keeps one eye focused on the Fanatics during every sporting event.
I ask them this: What are you afraid of?

When students get together in Taper Gymnasium, it’s an electric atmosphere. What’s the problem? When the Fanatics take verbal jabs at other schools’ fans or players and their counterparts respond, it creates a verbal jousting match where each student body is trying to passionately support their team and their school.

I believe that personal attacks on players can  and usually do cross a line, but in the chance that it is taken overboard, like what happened at the University of Oregon last month in regards to UCLA basketball player Kevin Love, the students can be disciplined and reprimanded individually.
On many occasions after shooting a clever comeback back at the group of opposing fans, I’ve seen the Head of Fanatics, Brandon Wolf ’08, beckoned down from the stands and told to “tone it down.” Why? It’s funny and harmless.

At Harvard-Westlake, in many ways we are treated like college students, as evidenced by the difficulty of classes and the independence and responsibility granted to us by members of the faculty and staff. In return, we are expected to act with the maturity and experience of college students because of the prestige of this school. Watch the fans of any university passionately support their team and make use of witty chants to taunt the opposing teams and fans. If we’re expected to act like college students in the classroom, why aren’t we allowed to act like college students at sporting events?

The Sports Council will vote Friday on whether or not to limit the abilities of the Fanatics, in essence stripping them of their creative license and turning them into deadbeat fans. As a member of the Harvard-Westlake community it concerns me that the school would worry about the “fragile feelings” of our opponents rather than serious problems around campus. That seems a little more important than whether or not a member of the Crespi student body is offended by an “S-A-T-Scores” chant.

When they chant “Start-the-Li-mos” I don’t get offended and neither should other members of our community because that’s part of the exchange that takes place between sports fans. If anything, it should be viewed as a challenge to one-up the opposing school’s fans.

We can’t allow this phenomenal obsession with speech codes and sensitivity to rule our lives. If we allow these two stigmas of today’s society to influence the cheering at sporting events, we should be ashamed because there are bigger problems with our school than the Fanatics and their sometimes offensive personal attacks.

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