Friday, November 6, 2009


Earlier this week we read with interest a story in WaPo about a new crackdown on endzone celebrations in high school football.

Seems a Northern Virginia player was penalized for chest-bumping his teammate after a touchdown, and he earned a one-game suspension (later overturned) in the playoffs.

Such discipline is becoming more commonplace:

In the Washington area this fall, a wide receiver from 13th-ranked McNamara was flagged for pointing to the sky after a touchdown, and a Gwynn Park defender was penalized for pointing up at the sky after intercepting a pass. The player, who said after the game that the gesture was a tribute to his deceased grandfather, nonetheless cost his team yardage.

"What's happening is in the old days, there was a certain level of celebration that was allowed. Now it's basically no celebration," said Bill McGregor, who is in his 28th year as head coach at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville.

There are some who view the crackdown as necessary -- ridding the high school game of the scripted Sharpie-in-the-sock, cellphone-in-the-goalpost-padding type of touchdown celebrations that first appeared in the NFL a few years ago. Yet, just as the cleanup of those routines earned the NFL a new nickname -- the No Fun League -- so too has the recent emphasis on toning down player celebrations in high school left many coaches, players and spectators asking: How far can you go before you take the joy out of the sport?

It seems some folks at Reservoir High are asking the same question, according to this column by Stan Ber.

School administrators tried to enforce a no-standing rule during the homecoming game.

Years ago, we had an incident where at a high school basketball game, one side would stand and taunt the other side and then the other side would do the same in return.

There was potential for trouble at that game, so the county's interscholastic sports committee decided to institute a rule against standing en masse at athletic events. The purpose was to eliminate potential harassing and to maintain control of the situation.

Then came the Oct. 31 homecoming at Reservoir High School. The students were coming off the usual pep rally, spirit days and were filled with all the excitement that homecoming generates. So they tried to stand and cheer -- only to be told to sit down by an administration that wanted to enforce the no-standing policy. That led to "Let us stand" chants and by the second quarter Reservoir parents were standing in support of their kids.

We can see all sides, but hooo-boy what a mess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a way to avoid all this stupidity: let's just ban competitive sports from high school. Why should schools be free farm teams/training grounds for the professional sports franchises? Why should school dollars be spent to train players for already-rich team owners? Think of all the drugs, the thugs, the general stupidity that goes along with high school sports if we just cut it out.