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To Boo or Not to Boo?

By Dave Fox
Seattle, Washington

If some school administrators have their way, it may soon be illegal to boo at high school sporting events in Washington State.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is discussing guidelines to crack down on “negative conduct” at sporting events, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Proposed new rules include fining schools whose students boo the other team (or their own team?) or requiring them to forfeit games.

What? Are you telling me the high school jocks of America can’t take a little booing? When I was growing up, high school jocks were tougher than that. Or at least they faked it well.

Case in point: My high school wrestling team.

I went to high school in the 1980s. I had hair back then, and one of the unfortunate styles of the day among the new wave and alternative rock crowd was the so-called “rat tail” — a thin wisp of hair that hung down from the back of the head. I had a rat tail. I peroxided it every morning so I would look extra 80s.

One day in Mr. Morton’s law class, four guys from the wrestling team decided my rat tail meant I was gay. They also decided they could cure me of said gayness by cutting my tail off. Before class one day, they got me in a headlock. Two of them were restraining me. A third was coming at me with a pair of scissors. Just as Scissor Boy was about to snip, Mr. Morton walked into the room. The wrestlers released me from their clutches. They never did cut my tail off, but they did chase me around school and terrorize me for several weeks.

Are you telling me these guys would not be able to handle a little bit of booing at their wrestling matches?

Okay, so it would not be fair to stereotype all high school jocks. Maybe some of them are the sensitive type. Maybe booing does hurt their feelings.

It would also not be fair for me to speculate as to what issues the four guys on my high school wrestling team might have been having. It’s none of my business.

Personal note to the wrestling guys: I am not suggesting you were having any issues of your own. I am not suggesting the fact that you rolled around on mats with each other after school every day — in tight, skimpy, shiny, one-piece, baby-blue Spandex outfits — means anything. I am not even going to mention your ring leader Darren’s starring role in the school musical production of “Guys and Dolls.” Because seriously, what you did in the privacy of the high school gymnasium, or the privacy of the stage in the school auditorium, surrounded by hundreds of spectators, is none of my business.

Let me just say this: If any of you did come to me today and tell me you are gay, and that your high school bullying, your physical assaults on me, were just your misguided 17-year-old way of working through your confusion, I would want to forgive you. I would want to give you a big hug and tell you everything is okay.

Only I could never do that. You have committed disgusting and immoral sins.

No, no. I’m not talking about the gay part. Wherever you happen to fall on that spectrum is cool with me. I get it that people are born gay, and those who are should be proud. But dressing up in tight, skimpy, shiny, one-piece, baby-blue Spandex outfits… now, that’s not biological orientation. Spandex is a conscious choice, and for wearing it, you are going straight to hell.

Until you get there, I reserve the right to boo you. Throw me out of the stadium if you must.

Published on Friday, March 30, 2007

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