‘Sportsmanship’ stifles crowd involvement

Not all sports can be like golf. The big ones at Washburn, in fact, are not. Football, volleyball and basketball involve intense action and roaring crowds.

OK, well maybe at Washburn, it’s more like intense action and the occasional crowd cheer or two. But still, two fingers tapping the palm of one’s hand is agreeably the least amount of effort a spectator can put in.

At the last home basketball game, there were four boys standing in to do their alma mater proud and cheer on the efforts of our athletes. Only four, because everyone else was at home busy watching the activities at Bramlage Coliseum, 50 or so miles away.

The four boys, like the band on the other side of the gym, were cheering for the team. For anyone who has witnessed an athletics game that takes place with players older than 10, it is more or less common knowledge that cheering on one’s own team includes NOT cheering on the other team. In fact, it pretty much means that you’re cheering against the other team. Scratch that, not pretty much, it literally means that you are, by default, cheering against the other team.

The four boys at this game were cheering against the other team. Words like “ugly” and “stupid” may or may not have been thrown around. Now we’re not talking about trash talking anyone’s mother. They were just pushing at the other team with banter.

University police brought the students a yellow card, insisting that they were calling people out by name or number, and that was unsportsmanlike and could be penalized. While the students were momentarily thrown, soon they picked back up with their “stupid ugly purple” and traditional chants about “you can’t do that” and things of that nature. Apparently, this scenario is only a repeat of the volleyball games from first semester.

Written on the card were words like “racial, sexual, abusive etc.” The “crowd” of boys weren’t screaming anything like that. They may have been irritating, but none of their catcalls could have amounted to anything close to personal attacks. So what does this say? It should tell us that people are a bit on the oversensitive side. Not that we shouldn’t be civil about athletics, but sports are agressive, end of story. If a player can’t handle the pressure of being “picked on,” then they should not play competitive sports.

No wonder Washburn’s student attendance at games is so low if they will be criticized every time they get rowdy.