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EDITORIAL: Censoring Our Chants?

After last week’s boys’ varsity basketball home game against rival school Marin Catholic, Principal David Brown sent out a letter to Tam staff with the instructions that it be read aloud to classes. The letter remarked on the behavior displayed in the Tam student section during the game against Marin Catholic, calling one of the chants heard from the Tam crowd “appalling.” The cheers used biggoted and faul languge. Brown said that if there was no improvement in crowd behavior, home basketball games could potentially become closed to students.

School spirit is an important factor in building a culture that makes school an enjoyable place for students. The loud and excited crowd that we have become accustomed to seeing at basketball games is a display of many of the characteristics that make Tam such a special and unique place.

However, we must understand our limits. Principal Brown was absolutely correct in saying that the behavior was unacceptable. One of the chants heard coming from the Tam section was clearly profane and another could easily be construed as insensitive and offensive to Catholics. Many members of the community are in attendance at home basketball games along with parents and students of visiting schools. Tam as a whole should foster an atmosphere of friendly competition and not demeaning enthousiasm.

The issue was actually brought to Principal Brown’s attention after he was contacted by parents in the stands who took issue with the chants. There are plenty of ways to display school spirit without causing problems or being seen as disrespectful. Chanting positive things towards Tam players will serve the school far better. While we love our players and may not feel the same way about other schools’, we must recognize that they, like many of us, are student athletes, and we need to respect that. Both the Marin County Athletic league and North Coast Section, Tam’s two governing leagues have conduct codes for fan behavior at games that encourage positive behavior and legally restrict certain speech.

After the game, a Tam student was assaulted car by a Marin Catholic student while walking to a car.  (To learn more about this, refer to Hannah Chorley’s article on page 5). This is even more appalling example of people taking high school sports far too seriously. The assaulted student believed that the atmosphere in the gym contributed to the cause of the showdown.  At the end of the day, schools have sports for the enjoyment of the athletes. While they do get competitive, we need to be sure we show the players, coaches and officials the respect they deserve.

Lastly, just because we as a school overstepped the bounds of sportsmanship this one time, we should not give up on coming to games and cheering our team.  School spirit is vital to Tam, and next game students should come into Gus gym with the same excitement and enthusiasm, but leave the insults at home.




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