Misinformed DFAL Limits Cheering for Sports

Mackenzie Lee

After years of cheering oppression, new principal Adam Clark was the light on the horizon for Miramonte High School.  He borrowed pom-poms from the cheerleaders to pump up the crowd and encouraged the students to become more energetic.  He even reinstated performances by the band and mascot at home football games.  During the 2009 football season, school spirit was the highest it had been in years.

But now, once again, school spirit is in danger.  The Acalanes Union High School District has partnered with the Diablo Foothill Athletic League to demand the cheering rules established in November 2004 be strictly followed.  These cheer rules eliminate the fun, competitiveness, and school spirit of fans.

Expecting fans to keep their cheering clean regarding race, sexual orientation, gender, and swearing is reasonable.
But considering clapping or cheering when the opposing team misses a shot disrespectful is over the top.  The DFAL should back off on cheering rules and allow students to cheer freely under the supervision of administrators.

The DFAL seems to think that students at basketball games are rabid animals with no sense of right or wrong, that students disregard the rules and leap across the court to invoke a riot or fistfight.  DFAL attributes the changes to safety and positivity between fans and athletes.

“[The Board of Governors] feel that students can get so involved and so excited that they can be very difficult to control,” said Orlando Chiavini, DFAL Commissioner.  “This is especially evident in a basketball situation where rivals may be playing and you have two schools separated by only 75 feet of floor space. The school administration feel much more comfortable if they control the stands from the beginning of the game and don’t allow a dangerous situation to arise.”

Safety is important, however Miramonte faculty has never felt unsafe at a sports game.
“Our kids have been great,” said Associate Principal Jan Carlson. “At no time has it ever gotten out of control.  Students are respectful when we approach them and are willing to take direction.”

If there were fights at sporting games that would be cause to enforce these strict rules, however there hasn’t been a fight in years.
“In all the 15 years I have worked at Miramonte I have broken up maybe one fight,” said Miramonte physical education teacher and head football coach John Wade. “And I don’t remember the fight being that bad, just some pushing.”

Maybe other schools need more rules to keep the fans safe, that is understandable.  So instead of mandating rules that may be unnecessary for all schools, the individual school administration should be the ones in control of sports rules.

After all, the school administrators know their students the best, they see them every day and know what the students can handle.
“I don’t go to that many games,” said Chiavini.  DFAL employees don’t know students the way that administration and teachers know them.  DFAL employees are not fit to make rules regarding students because they do not know it affects students.

“Honestly, you are asking the wrong person regarding the school spirit,” said Chiavini. “I don’t really know how [the rules have] affected school spirit.”

The administrators are the best officials for this task.  Give the people who know the students and their character the right to create the rules, instead of a board of DFAL employees who don’t know the students at all.