Give us liberty, or give us detention

When in the course of athletic events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the school, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all fans are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the right to body paint. 

The last unalienable right, the right to body paint was stolen from us on the holiest of all football games… Homecoming. The two of us, along with a handful of fellow seniors, were making our way back to the stands after painting “Go Harvard!” on our chests, when we were stopped by Athletic Director in Charge of Operations Darlene Bible and Athletic Director in Charge of Compliance Terry Elledge. We were told that we had to immediately put our shirts back on because body-painting violated California Interscholastic Federation rules.  

We had body painted on Homecoming last year, and even earlier this season without any trouble, save a few catcalls from other fans in the stands. In fact over the last few years, a couple of senior boys tossing aside their shirts and painting their chests to show off their school pride has become a signature of the homecoming football game. The school has voiced no problem with that. 

We asked the athletic directors which CIF rule we violated and which potential consequences we risked incurring. We were informed it might involve the possible forfeiture of the game. Once the football team went down by several touchdowns in the second half and the prospect of forfeiting seemed increasingly harmless, we approached Bible and asked permission to display our body paint. We were promptly denied.  

In playoff bulletins given out to schools, the CIF Southern Section rule states that “painted faces and/or markings and painting on any part of the body will not be allowed at CIF-SS playoff contests.” At any non-playoff contest, however, body painting is left up to each school’s discretion.       

We’re not sure which option is worse: either some of the Athletic Directors purposely misled us, or they were not well-versed in their own CIF canon and yet invoked it to inhibit our exuberance.  
The Athletic Department’s refusal to allow us to body paint seems to be a part of some larger “King George-esque” tyranny being implemented along with the new field lights this year. 

Besides the ban on body painting, the Senior Kazoo band, a Homecoming tradition, was moved to senior night this year.  Homecoming is supposed to be for all grades. Barnum alleged that the halftime focus on the seniors takes away from that. Last Friday’s senior night game and kazoo band had dismal attendance.          

Although we did talk to Athletic Director in Charge of Communication Terry Barnum, Elledge and Bible on Homecoming, we were not able to speak to Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas. 
At sporting events around the world, body painting plays an intrinsic part in helping lead to the type of rabid fan atmosphere that the athletic directors and the athletic department as a whole should be seeking to foster.         

Allow us to announce our anachronous Boston Tea Party. From now on, any local non-playoff contest of any sport shall involve the two of us at the forefront of its cheering section, surrounded by painted chests.   

Let paint splash! Let shirts fly! Body painters, this is your call to paint!  Now is the time to prove just how unalienable we believe this right to be.

So sprint, do not walk, to your local arts and crafts supplies stores. We have a long two athletic trimesters ahead of us.  And we all must be stocked up, ready and willing to fight.