What If…We Look for Places to Cheer

Our daughter’s regular season of 🏐volleyball games ended last week. That concludes years of sitting in the stands in gyms throughout our area. You 👀see a lot when you spend that much time in gyms. I like to check out the banners that show the schools’ 🏆winning seasons in different sports. Some have cold, hard bleachers, while others have relatively comfortable seats. To be fair- no seat is comfortable enough when you sit there for hours. 😂Those padded bleacher seats help, but then you have to lug those things around between games. I just go into them knowing that I’ll squirm to find a comfortable way to sit and never find it.🤷🏻‍♀️

Every school has some kind of student section. When you think of sports like 🏈football or 🏀basketball, those student sections can be huge. For 🏐volleyball, they are smaller. Sometimes, it’s just a few kids sitting in the stands to support their friends. On the other hand, some schools have big groups of kids who stand and shout throughout the games. ❤️I’m a fan of the student sections. I love to see students supporting other students and showing school spirit. 👍🏻However, I’m not a fan of folks who take cheering from a positive activity into a negative space.👎🏻

Sadly, hearing a “boo” or two is almost expected now. Another common one is, “You can’t do that.” Watch any pro-game on TV, and you can hear those from the stands. Over the years, I’ve heard and seen worse. 😡There are student sections that make an effort to cheer against the other team more than cheering for their own. Comments about the bodies of the girls on the court. 😡Racial slurs. 😡I remember a student section that had a roster with the players’ names. If someone made a mistake or was preparing to serve, they would use that girl’s name in their chants. 😡Ugliness, I’m telling you.

You know what drives me crazier than the rudeness of some student sections? The teachers and administrators from those schools who do nothing! 😤NOTHING! 😤I’ve seen referees stop games to address the opposing teams’ student sections, and the adult in charge doesn’t even get up from the bleachers! I’ve seen them sitting by- scrolling on their 📱phones!!- while the students they are supposed to be supervising are out of control. If we hear it across the gym, I know they hear it from a few feet away. As a teacher and parent, I’m thinking- just do something! 😡Kids typically respond well to correction, but they sometimes have to be told when they are crossing the lines.

We’re all in the student section of life, and we need to consider how we 🎉cheer. I believe it is possible to cheer FOR our teams without actively cheering AGAINST those from different teams. 💯I’m not talking about sports teams anymore. I’m talking about those groups we use to label ourselves. Our communities. Our belief systems. We need to stop painting the other groups with such broad 🖌brushes that we can only see the negative parts or the parts we don’t understand. Sometimes, the other side will make a pretty awesome shot or win because they are just a better team in that moment. That’s okay. There are lessons to take from both sides in the game of life.

Following our school’s Senior Night, a parent from the opposing team caught Ken and me while we were on the court waiting for our daughters. He wanted to let our school know how much their team appreciated that we included their seniors in our recognition ceremony that night. 😍He used the word CLASSY. 😍He also said that he hadn’t seen that kind of sportsmanship from every team they played throughout the season as he thanked us for welcoming them to our gym. 😍What if…we look for places to cheer? Let’s 🎉cheer loud and proud for our teams while remembering that the other side is just as proud of theirs. And- how about putting down our phones and saying something when the cheers are really just jeers? We’re all in this together. 🎉Cheers to you and yours!💖

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