Has school rivalry made the South lose its charm?

School rivalry is something you find at every school. Students enjoy the competition with other schools, knowing they are the best and fighting their way there. Usually the challenge of fighting to the top comes through athletics or academics. But what happens when school rivalry takes to fighting with fist?

Carver High School and Valley High School recently had a fight break into a riot during the State basketball playoffs. The fight started on the floor between players but then quickly escalated to the stands.

Not only did State news agencies cover the story but it made it to CNN because of the footage caught of all those involved in the fight. The biggest evidence in the case is the video which police have used to apprehend almost a dozen juveniles.
High school rivalry and the “big game” went too far at the Carver-Valley playoff game. But how is there a way to control these heated athletic events? Each year when Auburn plays Alabama there are many fights, verbal and physical that rarely make the news, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

Has sportsmanship and good-clean competition gone out the window? Athletics, from middle school to college are monitored by police officers, which makes sense because of the recent fight. But have people lost their manners, when it comes to healthy competition?
The Alabama High School Athletic Association ruled that both Carver High School and Valley High School were prohibited from playing in the playoffs this year. The schools probation periods are still under discussion.

Natalie Glenn, a junior at Auburn University and Vestavia Hills High School graduate, agreed with the ruling to ban Carver and Valley from the playoffs after she viewed the footage of the fight. She said she felt her old high school, Vestavia, usually kept it classy during sporting events but they definitely got excited around big games. Glenn said there were often rumors about pranks on the other team, but she said she felt that was usually normal for most schools.

Talking big game is one thing, but it’s another when it erupts into a fight on the court and in the stands. It’s good the AHSAA acted sternly on the wrongdoing because other teams will hopefully learn to behave on the court instead of throwing fist.

People learn to associate fighting and sports at an early age. Hockey encourages fighting, fans stand up and cheer even louder when players fight, even though the fans won’t suffer the consequence of the fight, it is still instilled in them to associate the two together.

Professional baseball is another sport where fighting happens often but isn’t allowed as it is in hockey. When young kids see these professional athletes, who they aspire to be like one day, yelling and throwing bats on a field what type of message is that sending? And when these fights break out the entire team usually jumps off the bench to come “back up” their teammates, as the Carver players did in their fight.

So who has really created this problem? Is it school rivalry or have we as a nation sat back and watched fights on TV and just thought “this is normal.” Well hopefully by the AHSAA making a point and standing up for good sportsmanship, fair play and healthy competition people will begin to realize that fighting with your words and your fist isn’t acceptable.

Players should be able to hold their own on the court without having to tell someone off, or hit them to show their superiority. So congratulations to the AHSAA for standing up and putting your foot down. Athletics in Alabama has had a long standing tradition that I would hate to see lose its pride, respect, dignity and southern manners.

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