Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today From The WTF Files: “Silent Cheer Day”

Don't snore! It could be too loud and you might offend someone.

A big part of sports is the cheering, booing, and everything in between. This aspect of athletics only becomes more prominent as we get older and we can’t be the ones in the competition. Just go to any baseball, football, hockey, or basketball game and you know exactly what I am talking about. For those outside the U.S. think rugby or soccer.

When I was younger I can remember my parents on the cold uncomfortable metal bleachers just beyond the dugout cheering on the rare occasion when I actually showed some semblance of athletic ability. Albeit a rare occurrence I had a few moments. Most people know that feeling of those moments (some more some less) when they can hear the cheers of their team mates and family ringing in their ears. It is a part of growing up and it motivates you to try and get better.

On the flip side, we all know that feeling when we let our team down. I remember many long hits given up when I could see hear the cheers against me and see the faces of my team mates as they did whatever they could to minimize the damage. Even those moments can prove to be formative ones as you bear down, move on, and focus on turning things around. Learning how to deal with a little adversity is a great thing growing up. In many respects it is a better learning tool than the moments of glory.

In both of these instances the roar of the crowd for or against is the fuel that is needed to succeed the next time around. But what if there weren’t any cheers? What if parents were penalized for cheering? I know, that is just crazy talk and things would never become so screwy that something like that would ever happen. Right?

Think again. The notion of “Silent Cheer Day” has been around for probably 20 years in one incarnation or another and every once in a while a story pops up to remind us all of the quality ideas coming out of California. I know, it sounds like something from the stoner Olympics (Denver 2018). This year, Idaho is in the news for implementing this mellow means of ‘you’re all special’ kind of athletics. Funny, I was certain it would have been Colorado this year. From The Coeur d' Alene Press:

“Silent Cheer Day” focused on sportsmanship and encouragement without spectators yelling negative or even positive remarks at the players or referees.

“Coaches said the kids played a little better because there was less noise,” said Post Falls recreation coordinator Justin Brown.

Brown got the notion for the silent cheer at a seminar he recently attended at the National Alliance for Youth Sports in San Diego. The goal is for parents and spectators to find less distracting ways to communicate their support for their kids, such as applause and signage, and eliminate some of the negativity that can come out during a game. If they were loud during Saturday’s games, they were given a red penalty card and sent to the penalty area for one minute.

I repeat, hearing cheers either for or against you are a means of motivation (especially when they use your name or position). Incurring such penalties, even for a day, is a ridiculous waste of time and energy. And what is it really teaching these kids? It’s not your fault if you don’t succeed, the crowd was too noisy. Give me a freaking break.

Oh, wait, I forgot. It’s a California idea. That means we can’t hold people accountable for their own actions. We can only blame those around them or some other circumstance that was out of their control. We might as well start them off early and teach them while they are young that there is always something or someone else you can blame for anything that goes wrong.

I just wish that they would start silent bitching day. Instead of forcing the rest of us to participate in this crap, how about you miss and moan silently to yourself and leave the rest of us out of it. That is a day that I will be happy to stand behind.