Free-Range Kids

Feelings First: Wisconsin Bans Chanting at High School Sports Games

Someone could get hurt, sort of.



"Two, four, six, eight, who do we no longer hate? The other team! The other team! Yaaaaaay!"

Expect to hear more cheers like that in Wisconsin, where the Interscholastic Athletic Association recently reminded its members of the rules for cheering. Specifically: Taunting the other team is never allowed.

While most of us appreciate good sportsmanship, this edict seems to ignore a basic tenet of competitive sports, which is that for one side to win, the other side has to, um, not win.

Fearful of the dire consequences of that shattering fact—or at least fearful of the dire consequences of saying it out loud—the association recently told schools to forbid all kinds of perfectly appropriate conduct at games:

"Not wanting to restrict creativity or enjoyment, an enthusiastic and boisterous display of support for a school's team is welcomed and encouraged at interscholastic events when directed in a positive manner. However, any action directed at opposing teams or their spectators with the intent to taunt, disrespect, distract or entice an unsporting behavior in a response is not acceptable sportsmanship. Student groups, school administrators and event managers should take immediate steps to correct this unsporting behavior."

Like… tackle the cheerleaders? Gag the fans?

The association seems to want to make the stadium yet another safe space, where never is heard a discouraging word. This might sound kind, but it's really an insult. The WIAA is suggesting that today's kids can't handle anything less than, "Good job, buddy!"

So, Sha na na na. Sha na na na. Hey, hey, good job! Welcome to the glorious new era of school sports, where kids may still be allowed to bounce the ball, but we don't trust them to bounce back.

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  1. Man, Reason’s really talking shit about Wisconsin today, huh?

    1. Wisconsin = Walker = presidential campaign = Trump.

      It’s Trump all the way down!

    2. Scott Walker really let them down.

      1. *refresh!

    3. Doesn’t sound like Wisconsin banned anything. Sounds like the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association did. Its a private organization, as far as a I know, and not an state agency.

      1. The state hasn’t banned anything, but a local public high school just suspended one of their star girls basketball players for tweeting in protest to the new rule. It’s actually making pretty big news around here.




    1. Reminds me of the driver who wanted politer turn signals, so he rigged his to separate lights on either side of his rear window, the left displaying “Thank You,” and the right, “Sorry…”

    2. Observing the superiority of one team’s jumping ability serves to perpetuate ableist norms and ignores that such privileges are deserved rather than the product of centuries of systemic othering toward the gravity-surplusaged.

      Your suggestion is deemed triggering and therefore banned.

      1. Argh, that should have said “implies,” not “ignores.”

  3. Apparently alt-text is now banned too.

    1. “Concussed by the mean chants”

  4. Look, schools are just concerned about the health and wellbeing of their kids, okay? That’s why they don’t want anyone saying mean things about them while they inflict debilitating concussions on one another.

  5. In college, the league of my high school girlfriend ‘s basketball team had a rule where the crowd was supposed to be silent during free throw attempts. Everyone obeyed the rule.

    1. Well, yeah… girl’s basketball. Was anyone even there?

      1. Yeah, I suspect the gym was pretty silent during the rest of the game, too.

        1. Poorly worded. It was her brother’s team in high school!

  6. I’ll help tackle the cheerleaders.

  7. “Football may be the best-taught subject in American high schools because it may be the only subject that we haven’t tried to make easy.”

    Not in Wisconsin I guess.

    1. Who said that?

      1. Supposedly it was an educator named Dorothy Fanan, but there’s some debate over it now. I just see it on coaching forums a lot and always liked it.

  8. What the fuck is wrong with Wisconsin? That’s two tales of idiocy in row from them.

  9. Someone could get hurt, sort of.

    I thought that was the whole idea.

  10. Next season, they won’t keep score. Everyone wins.

  11. my neighbor’s half-sister makes $83 every hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 9 months but last month her payment was $17900 just working on the computer for a few hours. why not try this out

    +++++++++++++++++ http://www.Wage90.Com

  12. Eight bits, six bits, four bits, a quarter
    All for (other team), snap your supporter!

    1. “The foregoing chant is not intended as, and shall not not be interpreted as, action taken with the intent to taunt, disrespect, distract or entice an unsporting behavior in a response. We, the chanters, affirmatively disclaim any such intent.”


  13. Taunting slack-jawed (and probably racist) yokels is still acceptable, though, I presume?

  14. I just got done reading Johnathan Haidt’s book on Moral Foundations Theory (recommended) and the left’s focus on care vs harm, fairness vs inequality, and (supposedly) liberty vs oppression (though in the case of the progressive left I’d call it victims vs victimizers), and their moral blindspot (shared by libertarians, FWIW) in areas of loyalty vs betrayal, authority vs subversion, and sanctity vs degradation, and how this leads the left away from important community and group oriented functions that reinforce communal ties.

    This story fits in well with that. But it is interesting that according to Moral Foundations Theory you might expect libertarians to support (or at least be ambivalent) about this as well. And yet I think it is profoundly stupid.

    1. “But it is interesting that according to Moral Foundations Theory you might expect libertarians to support (or at least be ambivalent) about this as well.” Outline that.

      1. Got to run to a meeting, but will do so when I get back, because it is interesting.

        1. Not sure if your still around, but Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory is that there are at least six basic components to various moral codes (he uses the analogy of taste receptors on the tongue), and that a persons morality is a combination of those components in various proportions. They are care, fairness (defined as proportionality), liberty, loyalty, respect for (what is perceived to be valid) authority, and sanctity. He claims his research shows that conservative morality incorporates all six foundations, whereas liberal morality incorporates care, liberty, and fairness but almost none of the other three. Libertarians are given passing reference in the book, and I think he doesn’t quite capture the nuances of libertarian views on morality, BUT the claim is that libertarians value liberty almost exclusively, with some aspect of fairness, but almost no concern for care (beyond its relation to respecting rights, which liberty covers), authority, loyalty, or sanctity. And so in that sense he puts libertarians as being closer to liberals. At one point he describes libertarians as liberals that love free markets.

          FWIW, I think it is an interesting and thought provoking book and I recommend it, but I think he misreads libertarians and their similarities/differences with liberals. My point was to highlight that.

          1. I’ve read The Righteous Mind (years ago, by now, I guess). What I want to know is your path to the conclusion that “one would expect libertarians to support this”. I doubt you got that right.

  15. Wow, so I guess the University of Maryland’s special version of Rock and Roll Part II is out.

  16. Good job, Lenore!

  17. Resist them!
    Resist them!
    Persuade them to relinquish the ball!

  18. I went to a private school that had a rule no booing, or any other disrespect to the opposing team. You could only cheer the schools team. Since this is the league and not government, I would assume it would be up to the schools to discipline. As a school rule with school discipline (detention in my case), I don’t really have a problem with this.

  19. Can they at least rag on the refs?

  20. “”Not wanting to restrict creativity or enjoyment, an enthusiastic and boisterous display of support for a school’s team is welcomed and encouraged at interscholastic events when directed in a positive manner.”

    Suggested examples of positivity:

    “Our team is awesome, their mothers all had honest jobs!”

    “And our mothers are not ugly.”

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