Saturday, March 24, 2007


Booster Boo Ban Boo Hoo

Last fall a committee of 15 high school administrators from across Washington State met to discuss sportsmanship. The upshot is that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has prepared guidelines for fan behavior which will ban booing, along with other unsportsmanlike conduct like pompoms with things printed on them. Those foam fingers are also out.

"I don't know why people think it's acceptable to boo in the first place," WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. "It's a pretty novel concept to me." He added that "this is still in the draft stages; We want ...all of our nine districts (to) have the same policies. I think there are a lot more positive ways to generate school spirit than by being negative." The association already prohibits any negative commentary about officiating before, during or after any interscholastic activity or athletic event. "Constructive criticism or comments are always welcomed," the organization's handbook states, "and should be made available through the proper channels (verbally or in writing) directly to the person(s) involved and/or their immediate supervisors." Booing the ref’s call is not, however, considered “constructive criticism”, at least when not through proper channels.

Not everyone thinks the boo ban is a good idea. "They're kidding, right?" asked Rainier Beach High School boys basketball coach Mike Bethea. “If they won't let people boo at a basketball game, what's next?" Fortunately, The Seattle P.I. has a feature with the on line story called “Sound Off” where readers can offer their opinions. Unfortunately, not all have been within the proposed rules. Fortunately, there is also a button following each comment labeled “Report Violations”. Among the 179 comments: “boo”; and particularly grievous- “BOOOO-OOOOOO-OOOOOOO!!!!
-Editor's Note: The association is proposing to give a technical foul to the team whose boosters boo. Highschoolers have a sense of humor, and fairness, beyond what these admin types appreciate. Prediction: Award a foul and the opposite team boosters will boo to even it up. Who says it isn't great to be in high school?

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