When Tensions Run Too High: Latin v. Parker

Lindsey Bell Co-Features Editor From derogatory signs to disparaging jeers, every Latin vs. Parker basketball game solicits drama and heightens the already-present tension between the two schools. Coming from both sides, there have been signs in the past regarding students’ weight, attractiveness, as well as their ability to cross a street. There have been chants condemning the referees, personal jibes at the opposing school’s players, and even borderline physical violence; but not last time. In Latin’s home game against Parker at Loyola, there was no drama; there were no contemptuous signs; there were no personal attacks; and no one got slapped. But why the change? What made Latin students rise above the snide affronts in exchange for a healthy, competitive spirit, manifested through positive cheering? When asked this very question, Latin students’ responses varied. Tom Cox (’12), a member of the varsity basketball team, stated that it was because, “Latin keeps it classy,” while fellow teammate Justin Kaplan (’12) replied, “Parker didn’t want to mess with us ‘cause they knew we were going to kick their butt in regionals,”. This put the blame more on Parker and revealed that maybe our own aggressiveness is actually a strategy of defense. However, the one consistent factor seemed to be the presence of authoritative figures. In addition to teachers, the presence of deans and even Mr. Graf himself were made more explicitly known than in the past. When students began chanting, “bull sh**” in response to calls that weren’t in Latin’s favor, Mr. Graf immediately stepped in to curb this type of taunt. Although maybe an obvious concept, this was something that was new to this game. Previously, it was easy to get wrapped up in the heat of the game and forget they were there; but by making their presence known, they were able to effectively remind the students that they were at a school function, where such behavior is inappropriate, and frankly embarrassing. As suggested by Camille Cokolow (’12), as long as “we have authoritative figures at our footsteps, with their kids, and other deans” then better sportsmanship form the audience is perhaps a trend that will continue to grow.  Another important factor was Coach Bower’s talk with us during assembly the day before. As someone who is well respected around the school, everyone took what he had to say seriously—and it worked. Although we tend to pride ourselves as this independent student body, one that often rejects the notion of teachers telling us what to do, this game illustrated that we are still capable of being influenced by our superiors. I believe we will only continue to be respectful and positive at such events in the future, and that eventually we won’t need the presence of authority to curb our over-zealous, sometimes insolent behavior—regardless of how students from Parker act.]]>