Fans at State: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

What's going on in Class A hoops.
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Fans at State: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Postby ItsJustaSport » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:59 pm

You know, I've been sitting on my thoughts for nearly 3 weeks and I'm still amazed by what I saw at the state tournaments (B & A alike). Sitting through the Class B was awful enough, listening to the grove of fans who support their teams in the wrong way. But finally, at Class A, I had enough. Due to my past journalism background, I saw a need for reporting and started blogging everything. Then, I decided to sit on my observations, wondering if it was the correct thing to say this.

Well, after much thought, I believe I need to voice my disgust at some of the fans I saw. The amount of swearing, the heckling, the screaming at refs, it was pure and utter disgraceful, ugly behavior at a sporting event that is supposed to teach our youth sportsmanship and cooperation.

Now, let me tell you about me before you get all over me about being a "sore loser fan" or some sort. I'm not. I'm not a fan at all. Not of any class A school. I never grew up in a Class A town, nor have any affiliation with any of the teams. And no, I don't follow Class B basketball. I went to Class A state to watch "good basketball." I may not have a team, but I do know basketball and am familiar with the many rules of the game. No, I am not an official. No way would I ever do that with the screaming fans who blame all their players faults on the "bad officiating".

No, I have no affiliation with basketball what-so-ever. I work in higher education. And consistently, I see a grove of incoming students who grew up in the age of "entitlement." If they don't turn in their work, or miss deadlines or fail, there is always an excuse because, well, they don't fail. And why would they ever think they would fail? Watching Class A basketball, I saw a correlation between the court and the stands. I saw countless cases of where a player was clearly in the wrong and in groves, the fans would scream "BULLSH*T" and yell at the refs. What is that teaching a young, impressionable student? That argumentation and blaming others will make it "not their fault." There is no responsibility on the floor.

Now, this isn't all bad. Within the bad shines rays of light, but lets face it - people go home talking about the bad. All we know how to do is complain and well, our youth are picking up on our bad habits. So, I saw more "bad" than positive and that is what I am reporting about. Because lets face it, these images of students yelling "BULLSH*T" and neither their school, parents nor the tournament officials did anything to stop them. There are youth around! There should not be ANY swearing going on from the fans. If a player can get a Technical for swearing, then fans should watch themselves. If a player can't do it, why can a fan? And why are they allowed to chant it for a good 40 seconds before stopping?

So, fans. I am letting you know that you are being watched and judged and this isn't a good thing. Parents I see are the worst. I was sitting across the Fargo Dome from a Mandan parent and clearly heard his vulgar language as he screamed it across the floor at an official. Nope, won't be giving any support to that school anymore. I hope his wife gave him a talking to being he sat two rows behind a group of kids who couldn't even be in kindergarten. In fact, same goes to Century Patriots for their student fans' behaviors. I started videotaping them so I could post their chanting on my blog to show how terrible their behavior was and was amazed that NO ONE spoke to them. I thought better of this and decided not to, though next year, I may just start a video diary. Images speak more than words. And in a time where our good officials are retiring and young ones are being scared off by fan behaviors, we North Dakotans have got to start cleaning up our acts. Otherwise, at the rate we are losing officials, we're done. There will be no one to officiate games. If you are unaware, go to KX News in Bismarck - they did a great series on the serious trouble the state is in for officials in all sports. But basketball has lost the most.

Below you will find my comments on the fans I watched and commented on. These comments were written as the games played, so they are very accurate - I am not just making it up now as I type. I ranked them based on my observations and what I would grade them in my classroom for "FAN" effort. Let's remember, to be fan is to support your team. But you need to be doing it in a positive manner, not this destructiveness I've witnessed. So, I hope you take my comments seriously and take a moment to reflect on the effect of your behavior on the impressionable youth around you. After all, It is just a game. But if you don't agree with me, that's fine. You are entitled to your opinion. I could care less either way, but I hope that I make a couple people take a step back and maybe, just maybe, go down to the student section when you see your child chanting inappropriate taunts and say "Knock it off, you're embarrassing me and your school."

Please note: I wasn't able to report on all schools attending the Class A tournament as I watched a combination of girls and boys games. So, I am only reporting on the team fans I saw.

Century Patriots: This student section is not very patriotic. Chanting "Bullsh*t, Bullsh*t" over and over. Very demeaning to the officiating staff. If I was them, I would have ejected the whole bunch. This is a prime example of a fan section lacking any school supervision.. Pure and blatant disrespect for all on the floor and those watching in the crowd. RANKING: F-.

Mandan Adult Fans: I have never heard so many swear words and individuals screaming for calls that were unfounded. Heard too much vulgar language from this section at this family event. Those adults should be ashamed at themselves for this role model behavior. Students were surprisingly ok. Maybe they are the ones embarrassed by their parents. RANKING: Academics don't have a letter grade for this, but if they did, they would be an R for Ridiculous. They are in the 30% range as there are more negatives than positives for this fan base. Good luck school, you need to start cleaning up your fan behavior and start setting a precedent for behavior in the crowd. They reflect badly on your school.

West Fargo: Excellent fans. I have watched them three times. Haven't heard a single bad thing out of student fans nor adults. If it was there, the positive screams over power it. Picked up the atmosphere toting school colors and brought their band to the BSA one day. RANKING: In my book, they are the curve sitters and hit a solid A for their positive attitudes. I loved watching them and they really brought the basketball "spirit" to the dome. Wish more were like them. Also videotaped the students when I thought I was doing my video blog to highlight "appropriate team spirit behavior" since I seem to be focusing on the bad.

Fargo Davies: Didn't see much for fans, but one set of parents complaining about a fairly called game earns this team a solid C for fan ranking.

Fargo Shanley: Good fan crowd. Mostly positives out of students. RANKING: A solid B+.

Red River: Mostly negative cheers. I am not a fan of fans who "Boo" constantly when the other team has the ball. Nor am I a fan of the taunting to the players of the other team. A few obscenities cam out, but when the "Bullsh*t" chanting started, a Red River administrator was instantly there stopping the students and gave them a good talking to about behavior. WOW! Only time I have seen this in the past 3 days. Also noted that at the start of the game, the administrator took away inappropriate signs. That was the most impressive representation from a school administration I've seen. RANKING: School administration receives an A+ for taking responsibility of their student fans. More schools should be like them. However, the students focused too much on negative comments to outweigh their positive cheering, so they receive a D+.

Minot: Unfortunately I didn't get to see much of a student section, but the parents and adult fans were very supportive and screamed positive encouragement to their team. Very few negative screams from these fans, though did hear the standard non-existent "OVER THE BACK REF" screams. Sorry fans, but at no level does "Over-the-back" exist as a call. Pick up a National Federation High School basketball rule book - it's not in there and it really only highlights your lack of knowledge of the sport. So, from that aspect, when I hear someone yell it, they just lost all credibility with me.

So there you have it. My observations from the 2012 State "Super" Class A Basketball Tournament. Don't worry, I'll be posting my thoughts on the 2012 State Class B Boys Tournament. I am not trying to pick on people, I want to bring awareness to a serious issue at hand.

Let's clean up our behavior and bring back "positive cheering" to the court. This is our future generation. Let athletes who clearly mess up, embrace their mistake instead of trying to argue their way out of it that it really "wasn't their fault." Let's bring back sportsmanship. There is clearly schools listed above who have this. Let's nip the "negative cheering" in the butt before everyone starts converting over. Let's be PROUD of our schools and our fans. And let's leave a game being remember for our "positive attitudes" instead of being complete "___________". You can fill in that blank.

I'm glad the year has come to an end. I need a well deserved break from fans. But don't worry, I will be gun-ho next year to start blogging on a regular basis. After all, I attend many basketball games from all aspects (Class B, Class A, NAIA, Division II, JUCO) and have plenty to say about teams, fans and coaching staff from all levels. And please take it easy on the officials. They are doing their job. Many who are at your Class A tournament have officiated much better basketball and let's face it, they know the rules better than most of you. And if you think you can ref a better game, then let's see it. Please pick up the strips. Our state need officials in a bad way. Thanks for reading.
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Re: Fans at State: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Postby MoSiouxFan » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:19 am

Thanks for the observations and having the courage to post them. The behavior you cite is not just disappointing, and I don't think it's an overreach to say this, it's alarming. This is definitely not to let the students off the hook, because it's not, but the majority of the responsibility for this state of affairs falls on the parents and the administrators: the parents for the example they set and for not teaching respect for authority in the home, and the administrators for not laying down the law and then enforcing it. Students get their share of the blame, also, because, even though their parents may not be setting a good example and/or may not be teaching respect for authority in the home, they are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

The West Fargo fans that you observed are proof that the kind of disgusting behavior that you observed doesn't have to be. And, from a personal standpoint, I also know that it doesn't have to be like this. I have coached varsity boys basketball at a Christian school in Missouri for 23 years and our administrator has always been quick to deal with any disrespect shown by students or fans toward officials and, as a result, officials love to officiate at our school because they know that they can focus on doing their job without verbal abuse from our adult fans and students. As coaches, if a player other than our captain, talks to an official, our policy is that he doesn't get to start the next game. If a player so much as displays a wrong facial expression, he is pulled over to the sideline or pulled out of the game and corrected. Now, are our adult fans, students, players, and coaches perfect? Not by a long shot, but their overall behavior is under control and generally sets a good example.

So, it is possible to have good sportsmanship and right attitudes toward officials, but it has to start with those in authority, i.e., parents, primarily, and administrators, secondarily. Here's hoping that your post gets the ball rolling in my home state of North Dakota and parents and administrators step up to the plate and start getting this situation turned around. It has to start with them.
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Re: Fans at State: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Postby go maji » Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:32 am

first of all, every team says over-the-back.

second, it just sounds alot better than "PERSONAL FOUL REF"


As far as West Fargo (girls atleast), in their first game against Minot, the West Fargo band was playing at the same time the minot high school song was playing, and the the WF players ran right in front of the MHS cheerleaders. I would say thats pretty disrespctful.
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Re: Fans at State: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Postby scoobyx2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:11 pm

Thanks for the posts! I have to agree that it is pretty bad when parents are screaming at the officials especially around little kids. I have to add that I was at the Bismarck High-Bismarck St.Mary's boys consolation championship game and a few BHS kids said something to a player to be funny, and a BHS adult fan was right on them and scolded them. Told them to show more class than that, and those kids listened. They didn't leave either, and continued to cheer on their team.
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Re: Fans at State: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Postby Beyongthewall » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:56 am

Deep thought with great insight. There are always bad part of life in every corner of the society, but just a small portion of entire community. Always look for good and think for bad, make some effort to change the bad to good.
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