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.