Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Heinz-sight: Civility

From page A8 | November 20, 2013 | Leave Comment

Jerry Heinzer

Attending last week’s section tennis final at Del Oro brought back a flood of memories.

Namely, their fans are passionate.



One of the most intimidating places is Del Oro’s gym with that one massive side dedicated to the bazillion banners the school’s sports teams have won.


It wasn’t that long ago, in 2008 at the Division II baseball final, when Golden Eagle fans jumped all over my youngest during his last-ever prep baseball game.

Turns out they discovered a recruiting video he had made.

Boy did they let him have it.

Seven innings of constant ridicule, cat calls, snide remarks and mimicry rained down on him to the point his visiting college coach asked him afterwards if he knew A LOT of people from Del Oro.

Fast-forward to present. The Oak Ridge tennis girls had trouble with some spectators at last week’s section title match, feeling some were too close for comfort.

That begs the question of what can/can’t fans do at prep games, especially when directed at an opposing player?

How about this. Does it differ depending on the sport? Is razzing within a gym full of people at, say a basketball game different from a tennis or golf match?

Permissible in some places but not others?

OK when it’s acceptable speech and good-natured but not if it’s biting and hurtful?

Can a player be bullied by the crowd?

In Loomis, fans could literally touch a player; so close that even an under-one’s-breath comment had impact.

Though absent last week, usually, at playoff games, a CIF statement is read addressing conduct. Mostly, kids do behave but when they don’t a school administrator is there to keep order.

Couldn’t attempts from the stands or sidelines to intimidate have an opposite effect and motivate the player/team in the crosshairs? Why, as a supporter of one side, gift-wrap incentive to the other?

That seemed to be the case last week.

The tennis match most gathered around to watch?

Turned into a loss for their classmate.

That ballgame five years ago?

The section plaque sits in the foyer to Ponderosa’s gymnasium.

Makes you think whether a lack of civility translates to bad karma.





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