You “Chant” Do That

Anthony Metcalfe, Editor-in-Chief

I hate to break it to you, I really do, but the PIT―so proudly heralded by the high school for being “undefeated”―is losing. As the years go on, more and more of our actions are being labeled “inappropriate”. Each chant gets scrutinized thoroughly, the administration looking for any semblance of a negative connotation.  While still lauded for its enthusiasm and emphatic cheering, any compliment the PIT receives is greeted almost immediately by a warning about its conduct. We, as fans, are losing our freedom to support Eagan Athletics. Although some restrictions have their merits, even more are simply overreactions. And if something doesn’t change soon, the PIT will be undefeated no longer.

The PIT leaders were previously advised to avoid using a USA theme for the Farmington football game, because fans would not be able to bring American flags into the game, nor chant “USA” during it. The administration’s explanation regarding the ban of American flags I can begrudgingly accept. As stated by MSHSL Behavior Expectations, we are required to “Respect the American flag.” While I didn’t particularly enjoy the fact that we aren’t trusted to be mature enough to respect our nation’s flag, I had no qualms with their determination to avoid a potential problem.

No, my exasperation was directed at the prohibition of the chant “USA” at sporting events. Due to largely mistaken belief by Ms. Setter and the rest of the school’s authority, “USA” no longer refers to our nation, but rather it is an acronym for, rather inappropriately, “You Suck [a lot]*.” While I agree with Ms. Setter’s stance that chanting “USA”, if intended to be a derogatory statement directed at the opposing team, is “a disrespect to the military,”―as well as the nation in general―I think that she’s wrong in her assumption of its secondary connotation.

Every acronym inherently has the option of meaning something far more offensive than it should. Letters are not mutually exclusive to one word, and often we have to judge an acronym by its implied message. For all I know, every time I’ve chanted “EHS” in my lifetime, I was actually stating “Eric Has Syphilis”―or perhaps “Everyone Hates Sarah”―a derogatory comment directed at an opposing player. So should chanting “EHS” be banned from our school, Eagan High School? Go to any office building and ask what “USA” stands for, and I guarantee you the United States of America will make up the vast majority of the responses. While there will inevitably be the outliers that chant USA solely to insinuate that the other team “Sucks [a lot]*,” they constitute a much smaller section of the PIT, a section that should not get us all punished.

The restrictions to our actions don’t stop at acronyms, however. Specifically at Volleyball games, we’ve recently been told that we are not allowed to shout three words or syllables―such as “Bump…Set…Spike”―during one team’s process of hitting the ball without repeating the chant with the other team. Intended to promote equality, there’s no mention or even allusion to that type of action in the MSHSL Behavior Expectations. Without proper reason, the PIT is being prevented from shouting “E…H…S”―the high school, not syphilis―something that, whether there’s a correlation or not, seems to almost always lead to a point won by our team.

Ms. Setter and the administration argue that the reason for these preventive measures is to avoid messing up the opposing team’s rhythm, thereby affecting their play. The counterpoint to this argument is simple: that is exactly what fans are there to do. While I agree with her saying that, as high school student athletes, the players shouldn’t be exposed to the same harsh atmosphere that college and professional athletes face, that shouldn’t prohibit exposure completely. Nevertheless, this excuse has become commonplace in administrative discussions with the PIT, essentially being used as a catch-all to stop us from chanting something even if there’s no clear reason as to why. Until given an explanation more reasonable than the potential distraction that home-field advantage invariably should be causing, our actions should be encouraged, not discouraged.

To Setter’s credit, she did state that she “can give [the Bump…Set…Spike chant] some consideration,” implying that she’s at least willing to reconsider her stance on chants on a case-by-case basis. However, until the PIT isn’t censored by an unreasonably sensitive rationale, the school will continue to treat the fans unfairly. They can keep our “We Love TDs” chants, our dangerous-to-gluten-allergies-flour throwing, but we shouldn’t be punished for a secondary meaning of an acronym, or for providing a home atmosphere at home games. As it is now, the PIT is in no way winning this battle.

*Due to the nature of the actual word, it couldn’t be published. Instead, you’ll have to make your own assumptions.