As a former member of Palatine’s Red Raiders long before there was such a nickname for the school’s super fans at boys basketball games, I take offense to the “FVC Sportsmanship Guidelines” that I’ve seen posted at some of the venues around the conference. And I believe its an insult to the some of the league’s great fan bases at schools like Dundee-Crown and Jacobs. Let’s go through this garbage one-by-one. I’ll add my comment after each so-called guideline.
1. Use Common Sense. Duh?
2. Do not single out individual players, fans or referees. This really makes my blood boil. What a bunch of bunk. Why even have fans at all? The whole point of having a home court advantage is to get under the visiting team’s skin, just as much as it is to root for your own team. The league (and many others) are wrong here, plain and simple. It isn’t poor sportmanship if fans do it the right way. It’s creating a hostile environment for visiting teams to have to overcome. It’s called a home court advantage.
3. Only use appropriate language. I agree with this one. Although, in my experience, its the parents who violate this guideline more than the students.
4. No taunting. See No. 2.
5. Only “tasteful” and appropriate body paint. I couldn’t agree more. This should include girls showing up to events in their underwear.
6. Costume props may not be dangerous to others. See No. 1.
7. Remain in your own section of the facility. Is this Russia? This ain’t Russa. Until gymasiums have numbered seats and tickets that match, fans can sit wherever the heck they want.
8. No “Sound-a-likes” allowed in cheers. I don’t even know what this means.
The worst fans I’ve seen this year have been parents (on numerous occasions), not students. Ask any player how they feel when visiting fans give them a hard time. The answer you’ll get is that they embrace every minute of it. Just two weeks ago, Dundee-Crown standout wrestler Mike Lukowski was booed after winning the FVC title. His response? “I love it.” The officials who make these rules don’t understand these kids can take it. In fact, they wouldn’t want it any other way.