Guest Shot: Banning chants at high-school games idiotic

Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) should be taken to Kangaroo Hardcourt

By Marty Hastings

Kamloops This Week

They’ve thrown up a brick in the Badger State. Let’s hope pieces don’t land closer to home.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) should be taken to Kangaroo Hardcourt for its decision to ban oh-so-hurtful chants such as “Air-ball! Air-ball” at high-school basketball games.

Are you kidding me?

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) should be taken to Kangaroo Hardcourt for its decision to ban oh-so-hurtful chants such as “Air-ball! Air-ball” at basketball games.

Are you kidding me?

I’m not going to censor what comedian George Carlin said when he used the word “pussification” to describe situations such as this because that’s what I’m railing against here — suppressing in order not to offend.

Other phrases on the WIAA do-not-chant list are “scoreboard,” “you can’t do that,” “fundamentals,” “there’s a net there,” “sieve,” “we can’t hear you” and “season’s over.”

They’re not racist. They’re not homophobic. They’re not crude.

These are the type of chants that help create electric high-school environments and, contrary to the assertion of the WIAA, they don’t represent “unsporting behaviour.”

Yes, it’s taunting and, sure, it’s a form of disrespect, but these repetitive, rhythmic shouts exist outside of the normal world, in a sporting bubble.

They have two functions — they’re fun for home spectators and they’re meant to put the visitors off their game.

That’s called home-court advantage, isn’t it?

(We saw something similar to this close to home in the summer when the Vernon Tigers banned noisemakers from Kal Tire Place, a policy aimed directly at silencing visiting Kamloops Venom supporters. That, too, was ridiculous.)

Mental toughness is a quality every athlete should be striving for and what better way to test that trait than by jacking up a three ball, missing the rim entirely and hearing it from hostile fans?

Are you going to shrivel up and refuse to shoot again? If you do, that’s a coaching moment.

Hit the gym, blast loud speakers to simulate crowd noise and shoot 100 times from beyond the arc. Try to learn how to handle the heat. Next time out, don’t let them get to you.

Or, on the next possession, are you going to dribble upcourt and drain a shot to silence the crowd?

“Air-ball! Air-ba . . . (swish) ohhhhhh.”

What’s that? I can’t hear you . . .

I can only imagine how tough it would be as a parent to hear 500 students get on your kid’s case after a mistake, but how rewarding would it be to watch your son or daughter redeem themselves — or at least show the courage to try again — the next time they have a chance?

Coddling young athletes does them no good. You learn valuable life lessons by dealing with haters and overcoming adversity.

Get up, dust yourself off, can a trey and rub it in their face.

Then, pick up that brick and alley-oop it all the way back to Madison.