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Vulgar Chants At Sporting Events Reflect Poorly On BC

Allowing Long-Standing, Popular Cheers Can Help Athletics Continue To Foster Passionate Crowds

Published: Monday, November 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, November 4, 2013 02:11

This weekend, the Boston College men’s hockey team played a home-and-home series against Northeastern University. The series began with a home win by the Eagles at Kelley Rink and ended with a come-from-behind win at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. The two games had many similarities—they were both in Boston, both on a Halloween weekend night, and both featured passionate crowds of students supporting the home teams. 

Yet there was a key difference between the crowd of students at Northeastern on Saturday and the crowd of students at BC on Friday. The explicit chants that were present in Conte Forum on Friday night—namely, “F— Northeastern”—were not returned by the Huskies the following evening.

In a letter to the editor of this paper in October of last year, head coach Jerry York exhorted students to stop the growing vulgarity at hockey games. He encouraged students “to think creatively when coming up with new chants and cheers,” and “continue to make things interesting for your fellow fans.” But he made one, small, reasonable, and appropriate request: “Please don’t curse.” The growing number of students who use obscenities in chants at home BC hockey games is unacceptable, and the student body and Athletics must move to end the practice.

Students should be aware that not only are their words often broadcast in radio and TV, but there are also children present at the games who should not be exposed to inappropriate language. 

While students can make an effort to hold their friends accountable for the language they use, the student body can’t solve the problem alone. The athletics department can work towards preventing these explicit chants by embracing and encouraging the long-standing, popular chants and cheers that have cemented themselves within the student body. Recently, changes to the game atmosphere have included the removal of the cowbell initiating the sieve chant and loud music played over the speakers immediately following goals.

While some might argue that the sieve chant is inappropriate, few would argue that it is equally as inappropriate as the use of the F-word. The chant, at its core, is not really about the opposing team’s goalkeeper—it is rather a long-standing tradition that unites the student body, bringing together fans in support of the school’s most successful revenue sports program.

The sieve chant is certainly the lesser of two evils in this case, and perhaps if students were able to unite each time BC scores, they would be less likely to use expletives so publicly. Most other schools in the Hockey East have some variation of the “sieve” chant—Northeastern included—but the fact remains that they do not also chant “F— BC” when our team visits their rinks.

The athletics department has made a great deal of progress over the past year, which has, in part, resulted in outstanding student attendance at hockey and football games so far this fall. Efforts to potentially discourage long-standing student traditions at home hockey games do not promote attendance or engagement, and could, in part, be responsible for the growing frequency of these unofficial, explicit chants. If the athletics department truly believes that changes need to be made to student support at sports games, they should engage directly in a dialogue with students by holding a town hall meeting or some other public discussion, rather than attempting to change the game atmosphere without student input.

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8 comments

Anonymous
Tue Nov 5 2013 19:16
The chant was "puck northeastern," which in its general form is a very common chant in hockey rinks. Anyone using the F-word simply misheard the other fans chanting and/or was not familiar with the chant.
Anonymous
Tue Nov 5 2013 16:10
Not saying I condone the "F Northeastern" chant, but you are wrong in that BC is the only school that has vulgar chants. BU's sieve chant has "F BC" after every goal, whether they are playing BC or not. Northeastern definitely has "F BC" chants when we play them.

Usually, the worst chant is limited to "what's the matter with [rival school]? [rival school] sucks!". I'm a sophomore and I've attended every home game in my two years here, but only until this year has "F [school]" emerged. Not sure why it happened, but I think most people who are avid BC hockey fans do not like it any one bit either. I noticed some people yelling "NO! Shut up!" after the "F Northeastern" chant started, so there are some people trying to put a stop to them.

Anonymous
Tue Nov 5 2013 11:06
They were not saying F Northeastern... they were chanting Puck Northeastern. Very different.
Anonymous
Mon Nov 4 2013 16:19
who care whats in boston and whats not seriously. The best colleges are outside of boston anyway...
Anonymous
Mon Nov 4 2013 15:20
If you've ever actually looked at a map, you'd see that the border between Newton and Brighton (Boston) runs right through Boston College's campus. Lower campus, home of Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum, is on the Boston side of that line.
Anonymous
Mon Nov 4 2013 13:52
I was at the game at BC and I don't remember hearing a "F Northeastern" chant once. Perhaps it was only in a certain section of the stands? Near the Pep Band, any such type of chants were inaudible.
Anonymous
Mon Nov 4 2013 13:33
As a BC student rocking a superfan shirt at the Saturday night game, I can tell you that not only were personal comments about my race/school made, but there were plenty of "F--- BC" chants. Perhaps they weren't as loud or didn't last as long, but they were definitely heard. In the spirit of a fun and historic rivalry, I think everybody should just be reminded of the classic, "boys will be boys." It is a bunch of drunk college boys after all.
Actually in Boston
Mon Nov 4 2013 11:39
Correction: Only one game was in Boston.




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