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Davis: Student sections getting out of hand
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Patriot's Call

Times staff
By:

Crossing a line is a curious thing because it’s based in sensitivity and fragility.

It’s the point where a joke doesn’t get a laugh. An, "I was only kidding," is said out of necessity and can only be followed by a lesson on how properly to kid.

There were a lot of good things that happened this week on the high school basketball courts.

The East Hall boys climbed their way out of a three-game losing streak by playing scary good defense — run-and-hide good defense — in back-to-back wins against Wesleyan and Buford.

The North Hall boys, just two days after getting worked on by Gainesville, and playing without multiple key players, played an inspired version of roundball in honor of their hospitalized teammate Chase Syfan, and won in resounding fashion against Buford.

There were a lot of good things that happened this week, all overshadowed by fans crossing a line.

The stories, fables, myths, musings and tales that resulted from Gainesville’s student section throwing bouncy balls out on the court at the end of the game against North Hall are plenty.

It matters not who said what to whom, or in what tone of voice it was presented. The bottom line is people don’t pay to see fans, they pay to watch basketball.

And stop nodding your head in self-righteous approval, it isn’t just Gainesville.

Student sections across this county use racist, sexist, homophobic and other demeaning chants masked as cheers.

Sometimes I’d like to ask them how they would feel if they were the ones getting mocked in front of hundreds simply for being out there, working hard and representing their school.

What happened to supporting your team instead of berating the opponent? We aren’t talking about, "Airball," or, "You walked, you walked, you traveled and got caught." It’s not even the chastising of referees that’s the problem.

Good-natured ribbing is part of the experience and makes for a great atmosphere.

Even at Lanierland, however, it was evident from the early rounds to the championship game that something has gone awry with the student sections.

Maybe it’s an effort to be as noticed as the Cameron Crazies are at Duke, or noticed at all.

Maybe it’s envy stemming from not being the center of attention.

Or maybe it’s just the overall lack of respect that people as a whole have for one another.

Regardless of the rationale, what say we get back to what it’s all about, the kids on the court, not the ones sitting or standing courtside.

The young and lively Lady Vikings working on sheer resiliency and youthful bliss, like to have snuck up and beat an excellent Milton team. Regardless of the outcome, they shut down the Lady Eagles six-foot, five-inch center, Tori Waldner. With not a player over 6-0, limiting her in any capacity is something to be proud of.

Jaymee Carnes was honored by Gainesville for joining the Lady Red Elephants short list of 1,000-point scorers.

On a more selfish note, I got to see Buford’s Blanche Alverson, a future Auburn Lady Tiger, in action and can now say with conviction that she’s the real deal.

And, finally, Gainesville’s got their man in Todd Cottrell. Filling in the shoes of a living legend is impossible, but Cottrell’s got the Red Elephants playing hard-nosed basketball like the Gainesville teams old.

Teams founded in class and unselfishness.

Both qualities student fans would do well to emulate.

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