Today was "Spirit Day/Night." I'm sure other schools have this type of event, but it was the first time in my 25 plus years. Leading up to the big day, the Booster Club and parents worked with students in developing a theme for each grade level. Once the theme was developed costumes had to be decided on and ordered by students. Large posters had to be created as each class prepared for the big evening where everything would be judged.
The big night came and the student section went from one end of the gym floor to the other. At least there wasn't a huge adult crowd or we might have had problems with seating. Let me set the gym for you. To your right is the freshmen group, all dressed in black, wearing Zorro outfits, including hats. Next to them (moving right to left) you find the seniors. They are dressed up as the Incredibles. Yes, you heard me. Red leggings, red shirts, black shorts, right down to the emblem. Next to them you will find the junior class all dressed in blue. Their theme was the Blue Clues. I should note there are two students dressed differently. One in green with a name tag "Steve" and another in a pink outfit (sure you Blue Clue fans know the characters). Last, dressed in white are the sophomores. Because they were stuck with white their theme was the future. Behind them was a big poster with a rocket and a picture of yours truly behind computer screens making it appear that I was working at NASA.
The cheers begin and throughout the evening the students have a blast. I'm very impressed with our kids and have been all year. They demonstrate sportmanship no matter what sport or game. Unfortunately, that's not true for everyone else and this is the reason for this post.
To my fellow administrators I have a question ... why don't we all do our job? We talk about how we prepare our kids for the future. We talk about the importance of character, yet we allow our students to show all but character. We talk about how our schools are safe as we do everything we can to stop bullying in our schools, yet we allow a student section to be bullies to our teenage athletes.
Let me give an example (for some of you I'm sure you will be shocked this is allowed in high school). One of our girl basketball players shoots an air ball. From that point on, every time this 15 year old girl touches the ball the student section of 400 students cheers "air ball". I know this is a common practice in college, but we are talking about high school kids. When speaking to the administration, I'm told they once fought this but have given up because other schools do it. Before going on, I should state this was one of a handful of examples done by this same group of students.
I won't share my conversation with this administrator, but I will say I spoke my mind. Come on ... just because someone else does it! If you truly believe the behavior is incorrect, then stand up! As administrators, everything that goes on under our watch is representative of who we are. I know it's not easy and for that matter, it's not popular with many parents who just don't get it either (until it's their child on the receving end).
Thankfully, I work in a school where my students understand that when they come to the game it's because they want to have fun. They are there to support their team. When they cheer they want to cheer to support their classmates as they perform to the best of their ability.
Before closing I should say it's not all perfect, you always have a handful of students who forget from time to time. But when we do our job, it's amazing how their classmates will quickly tell them to stop!
So again to my fellow administrators ... stand up and do the job!