An Open Letter To Newton South Sports Fans
By Brian Baron
English Department Chair
So that was fun, wasn’t it? That volleyball game Wednesday?
The best volleyball game I’ve ever seen, although there’s admittedly not a lot of competition for that title.
But congratulations on showing up. In war paint, with some organized cheers, and even with an attempt at coordinated white t-shirts. It wasn’t quite at white-out level, but kudos on the matching outfits. The whole thing felt fun, goofy, cathartic. Like, you know, high school. Not the miniature college campus we sometimes imagine ourselves to be.
All that said, I have a bone to pick. Two, actually.
Bone #1: Opening introductions. The entire South student section turns its back on the opposing team as the players’ names are called. Now, this may be appropriate if there is a real grievance–whatever the volleyball equivalent would be of an opposing pitcher throwing at your team’s best player in last night’s game.
But that wasn’t what was going on here. As far as I know, the only real grievance we had with Needham was that they had a better volleyball team than we did last year.
Turning your backs just plays into everyone’s worst assumptions about the entitlement and arrogance of Newton kids. To badly paraphrase Mark Twain: Better to face forward and let them assume than to turn your backs and remove all doubt.
Bone #2: Singing “Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye” (I’m sure that song has an actual name, but you know what I mean) as the opposing team, which left its guts on the floor in an intense five-game match, walks off.
I’m sure the South team left with much respect for the skill of the Needham side.
But what you did was the opposite; experts call it “rubbing it in,” and it was disrespectful rather than exuberant and fun.
I get it—as a school, we don’t have long experience with all of this hootin’ and hollerin’. You’re largely taking your cues for how to run one of these student section thingies from that one Duke tournament game you saw on ESPN and that time you visited your sister in Ann Arbor. Maybe we can get the kids who run the student section at the spelling bee to give you some tips.
Also, your evening wasn’t without its high points. The national anthem after you had your giant flag taken away was nice. I didn’t completely understand what Cam Vicars was doing with his weird war chant in the fourth game, but it seemed inspired. And even the “tank top” cheer at the Needham student section was all in good fun.
But the opening and closing were lacking. In those moments, you didn’t live up to the quality of your team’s performance on the court.
The good news is that you have at least one more chance, in the state semi-final next Tuesday. Here’s hoping you use it well.
This opinion reflects the views of a single party and in no way reflects the views of the newspaper.