Published 1/29/14 by: Kaitlin
My apologies for not posting a lot this week – I’ve been sick, and absurdly busy. February will hopefully bring some reprieve (and more blogging)!
I’m a huge sports fan. I like sports of all types and at all levels. I attribute my desire to watch sports live (at the amateur level) to sitting through most of my younger brother’s wrestling tournaments when he was a kid. There’s just something really spectacular about watching kids compete at athletic events when the only motivation is to win, and not a hefty paycheck. So, I was watching a dozen of my former students at our middle school basketball game on Monday afternoon, thoroughly enjoying myself. I had been sitting with some of my colleagues, but they couldn’t stay for the entire game. Upon their departure some serious heckling started to occur from a group of sixth grade boys (none of them my current students). Some of these boys had siblings on the floor, and others were just school super fans. Their comments became progressively louder, more frequent and negative. After suffering patiently through their “kill ’em!” commentary for twenty minutes, and noticing that the moms of the opponents were not impressed, I turned around and told them to can it. I sternly addressed the group and said, “we’re at a school; we’re not killing anyone! Say ‘get ’em’, or something else, but lay off the killing comments.”
It died down for about five minutes. Then one of the boys inquired, “why can’t we say kill ’em? What’s the big deal?” I had to compose myself. I was mad because they were ruining the game for me, and bewildered by the fact that 1) they thought this behavior was acceptable, and 2) they were questioning a teacher’s request. I told them that it was aggressive commentary and that there are better ways to express yourself at school. They were (relatively) quiet for the rest of the game. When I was in sixth grade (just 17 years ago), not only would it not have crossed my mind to question authority, but I wouldn’t have been (publicly) heckling people. I may have made some choice middle schooler comments among my friends, but I never would’ve been shouting them from the stands. I knew better than that, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why these kids don’t. When relaying this story to some of my colleagues they said I was lucky that the boys’ parents (who were in the stands, but sitting far away) didn’t yell at me for reprimanding their kids in public (something that they unfortunately have had happen to them). It’s clear to me that this world of ours needs an upgrade in terms of young adult accountability. Otherwise, the adults of the future are not going to be anyone we want to deal with.by