Last Thursday night, our girls’ volleyball team defeated Redondo Union, winning the deciding game of a five-game match by a couple of points.
It was a great match, and after it was over the girls met on the court to embrace each other. Our girls, undoubtedly feeling the joy and relief such victory brings, wiped the smiles off their faces as they congratulated their opponents for a hard-fought match. They knew exactly what the other team was feeling and respected it.
It would have been unimaginable for our team to stand on its side of the net, gloating and taunting the Redondo kids who had spent months preparing for this night and had done their best.
Yet this is exactly what a group of our fans attempted to do with the “Na Na Na Na….Goodbye” chant we have heard too many times over the years. How many of those fans have spent the hours of practice, have made the sacrifices or have the skill of those they would mock?
Our fan behavior policy states: “All members of the Harvard-Westlake community attending sporting events are expected to refrain from disrespectful conduct including verbal abuse, trash-talking, taunting and inappropriate celebrations.” That means no more “airball,” “pressure,” “bounce bounce bounce,” nor any of the other not-so-clever things we unhappily have become accustomed to hearing. When it comes to cheering, yell like hell for Harvard-Westlake and forget about the other team.
Last Saturday night, I listened to the fans of a major college football team chant “Overrated” as they defeated a team that fell short after a furious fourth-period comeback. That would never happen during an Army-Navy game, no matter how intense the rivalry.
So who do we want to emulate…the young people at our Service Academies or a bunch of unruly boors auditioning for “Jersey Shore?”
We pride ourselves on being the best at so many different things. Should we aspire to the minimally acceptable standard of sportsmanship that avoids CIF sanctions? Or should we aspire to the highest level of sportsmanship so that when our guests leave our gym they’re thinking “That’s how we should be doing it?”
— David Hinden, Chair, Sports Council