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WIAA list of offending behaviors creates waves

My Opinion
Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association took the ‘everyone’s a winner, don’t hurt any feelings attitude’ to an entirely new level last week with its list of offending behaviors for students attending high school sporting events.
If this happened in Indiana, right in the middle of basketball season with sectional time just around the corner, folks at the Indiana High School Athletic Association would be scrambling for cover.
Here’s a quick run down on what would merit a ‘sportsmanship infraction,’ according to the WIAA: booing of any kind (how will the officials know when they’ve made a mistake?), ‘scoreboard’ cheer (I agree with this one; it’s as lame a cheer as it gets), ‘air ball’ chant, ‘you can’t do that’ chant, ‘fund-a-mentals’ chant (come on, this one is just giving advice to the other team), ‘We can’t hear you,’ ‘Warm up the bus,’ ‘Season’s over’ (just stating facts here) and, believe it or not, the chant of ‘U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A’ also makes the list.
Are there foreign high schools that compete in Wisconsin that I don’t know of?
The list also shuns those who dress in attire that is not associated with school spirit or are inappropriate, directing attention to one’s self. That would include just about everyone from the sectional cheering block of Corydon Central through the years where you’d find human-sized ducks, cows and people dressed in all sorts of Halloween-like attire.
It also discourages fan participation in other activities, such as the wave or roller coaster.
This may be the first time in sports history the wave was cast in a negative light as disrespectful.
The defining sportsmanship release does hit the nail on the head when addressing competitors. Such infractions include trash talking; celebrating a play excessively by beating on chest, pointing to the crowd, dancing or any voluntary, unnecessary movement perceived to be drawing attention to one’s self; celebrating a play by prolonged staring at an opponent or standing over an opponent; criticizing or diminishing the efforts or abilities of an opponent or official before, during or after a contest; and criticizing teammates or coaches.
Each participant should adhere to those rules.
As far as the fans and students go, the WIAA should let the principal and school officials handle what is and isn’t appropriate.
Students should feel like they’re the ‘sixth man’ and have a part in a team’s success. Home-court advantage is a major asset in high school sports.
After all, a sporting event is a healthy environment for students who could otherwise be elsewhere doing who knows what.
State officials should encourage student attendance and participation.
Just don’t do the wave; apparently it’s a distraction Wisconsin fans can’t handle.

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