Sportsmanship and Bullying

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Last night, I took in a high school football game. My neighborhood school, the Granger Lancers, was playing against my alma-mater, the Olympus Titans. The disparity was eye-opening.

By my count, Granger only had 33 players in uniform last night. That's not even enough to field a complete two-deep roster. They also had several Freshman dress. While they were able to drive the ball down the field several times, their lack of a kicking game resulted in several turnovers on downs near the end zone.

It was a different story on the other sideline. Despite having half the student population, Olympus dressed over 70 players. Having a large pool of players allowed Olympus to play their best players (instead of being forced to play their only players), and substitute players on every play (something Granger rarely did).

However this disparity is not what this post is about. Nor is this post about the many reasons that schools like granger struggle to field a team.  This post is about some of the cheers from the Olympus student section.  In the second quarter, on their fourth drive and down 21-0, Granger was unable to cross the 50-yard line for the first time and was forced to attempt a punt.  The snap was bobbled, and the punter tried to run for the 1st down and was tackled short.  the Olympus student section responded with a chant of "It's too easy," a chant they would repeat sever times later in the game.  After Olympus scored to go up 28-0, the chant was "it's all over."  These chants were meant to belittle the other team -- a team that was obviously undersized and disadvantaged.

Outside the sports world, that kind of activity is considered bullying. I have no problem with cheering on the other team, but I do have a problem with belittling your opponent, especially in high school athletics.  High school athletics should be a place where effort is rewarded and not belittled.  If elected, I will work to make sure that district policy states that anti-bullying policies extend to the athletic field and stands as much it exists in the classrooms and hallways. And, if a student body chooses to bully the opposing team, it is up to the school administration to evict those students from the game.