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Archive for the ‘Fan Behavior’ Category

Harassment or Just Trash Talk?

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Fall sports are in high gear and local teams are very competitive. So are the fans. During the summer Montpelier School Board was presented a “new” Athletic Handbook which was aimed at improving communication and making expectations clear about behavior of fans and players during games. So what has changed? Parents, players and coaches now have a comprehensive document that outlines all aspects of sport at MHS. That’s about all that’s changed. What is needed now is for people with strong positive energy to put that document into action before it gathers dust on shelves around town.

The first major incident of the season occurred during a boys soccer game between Lyndon Institute and Montpelier. Players began trash talking during the contest and it escalated into a Montpelier player verbally attacking (racial/ethnic in nature) an Asian player from Lyndon. We’ll never know who said what or how the exchange escalated into harassment but it did and it’s absolutely wrong. The Montpelier District Handbook, the MHS Athletic Handbook and the Vermont Principals Association Guidelines all have addressed Hazing and Harassment. I’m sure Lyndon Institute does as well. Big deal! It’s great that we have all this stuff on paper but does that change the climate or improve fan and player behavior. Apparently not.

So, what are people doing about it? Coaches and Athletic Directors have talked with the teams and players. The MHS player was suspended for a couple of games. So maybe this little lesson will serve as an example of what you shouldn’t do but it’s all after the fact. MHS needs to start cleaning up it’s house because it’s getting messy. Even a game official commented that he doesn’t like Montpelier and it has to do with the fans and players behavior. It needs to be addressed. It needs to change.

What are the lessons being taught? I watch teams come onto the field and always notice the team with the most discipline. Do they look like a team? Do they act like a team? Usually they are the ones that perform the best and have the most fun. When they leave the field what does the bench area look like? How do they leave the bus after the trip? Is it a mess? What does the locker room look like after a game? All this stuff shows the amount of class a team has and you will see it in their performance.

Montpelier has a big job to do this year to improve fan and player behavior. It’s time to start paying more attention to the values and expectations outlined in the handbooks. Start with coaches meetings. Collect their ideas and put those ideas to work. Add some student rallies to develop school pride and maybe create enthusiasm through Booster Club activities.

Get creative! Get involved! Do something! These are our kids and I’m sure we’re not helping them by allowing bad behaviors.

Written by admin

September 28th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

SHS Girls Hockey vs BFA-St. Albans Fans

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The Spaulding girls hockey team was one of my favorite teams this year. Not only were they fun to watch because of their incredible style of play but also because they were classy athletes. They didn’t back down from anyone and always displayed a high level of competitive spirit while showing respect for their opponent. They knew how to have fun and win! They were unlucky during the championship game last Friday at Kreitzberg Arena in Northfield against BFA-St. Albans. They dominated play throughout the game. It was the kind of game that one mistake might win it. BFA scored the only goal on a power play. BFA girls were tough and never backed off even though they did not get many very good chances to score. Their freshman goalie was incredible! She was very aware of everything and quick to anticipate Spaulding’s attacks. It got a little heated toward the end and a couple of players from both teams stopped playing hockey for a bit and let their tempers take over with some shoving and pushing. The refs called it roughing and gave them penalties. It was a great game.

BFA-St. Albans fans on the other hand were anything but classy! They demonstrated some of the worst fan behavior I have seen in sport. They began by chanting in fun and were noisy during the game. They had a lot of enthusiasm and it added to the game until the end. Once the horn blew ending the game the BFA fans started pelting the Spaulding girls hockey team with mardi gras beads they were wearing around their necks. They taunted them with looser comments and general insults.

Why would any group of kids be so out of bounds toward a team that was suffering such a huge loss? Why weren’t they celebrating with their own team that had just won the championship?

I was standing next to some BFA parents, adults and I believe the Athletic Director. I commented on the rude behavior and they just watched smiling. Mixed emotions I’m sure. They were smiling but I’m not sure at what – the win or the behavior. Probably both. I didn’t get a chance to see how the winning coaches reacted but I’m hoping they would have been appalled by it all. I certainly was. It did not reflect the winning teams efforts and great season. It totally changed my attitude toward BFA-St. Albans. I used to take my basketball teams to St. Albans to scrimmage in pre-season. Jim Bashaw was the BFA coach at the time and I have always had a lot of respect for BFA because of him. He is missed-RIP. They need people like Jim to turn their reputation around because right now it stinks!

Written by admin

March 3rd, 2010 at 8:25 am

Posted in Fan Behavior

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Whistles & fan behavior

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The Montpelier – U32 boys basketball game Wednesday night was exciting full of twists and turns. U32 dominated the defensive end and controlled rebounding all game long. Neither team can shoot the ball. Basic fundamentals just aren’t there. Actually all of Central Vermont players, girls or boys, lack a pure shooter that can stop and pop a simple 10-12 footer.

Anyway, the MHS vs U32 game changes at the 3 minute mark when Nate Smith hit a three pointer and the refs stopped the game (3+ minutes) because of fan interference (whistle). How would the game have ended if MHS had the opportunity to press U32 immediately after that 3 pt shot! We’ll never know but my hunch is it would have been a more exciting game if it had continued without fan interference! Somehow we need to get fans to better understand the game and participate without interfering with the result! Fans and parents are not the players and need to play their game without effecting the outcome. Inside the lines or Outside the lines. Where is the game really played? Lately it’s been more outside the lines . . .

Written by admin

February 18th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Fan Behavior