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You “Chant” Do That

Anthony Metcalfe, Editor-in-Chief

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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.

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One Response to “You “Chant” Do That”

  1. Mr. Thompson on October 14th, 2014 1:17 pm

    I just wanted to give another perspective and history to this story.—

    A couple of years ago we were told at the Boys State Hockey Tournament that some of the schools had resorted to chanting USA as an acronym for You Suck (A*#). The derogatory version of the famous chant was not started at Eagan, but rather at other local high schools. Unfortunately it had become accepted at those schools as something totally different from the great chant I remember growing up hearing at Olympic events or other events where Americans are playing other countries. They asked us as administrators to stop this chant, for obvious reasons.

    I probably would have argued that it was ridiculous to believe that explanation, but the week before I personally witnessed a group of about 10 boys from Eagan chant U-S-A for 2 hours at a consolation hockey game at the girls state tournament, and when I asked why they were chanting that out when we were playing another American opponent, they laughed and said they loved America.

    Point is… if some of the people that are leading this chant believe it stands for You Suck A*# and it has become accepted as that at not only our school, but at other local schools, then it is an inappropriate chant for us to use and it reflects poorly on our students. Furthermore, we are not playing Canada or Russia, where it makes more sense that we would be chanting it for patriotic reasons.

    Finally, I just want to be careful not to portray our staff against our students. Even for something as silly as a chant. I absolutely know that Ms. Setter and the rest of the staff at Eagan High School are very proud of our students and our fans. She along with the rest of the staff are so proud of our student body because we are a community that cares for each other and we do our best to be an example of class even when our opponent may not be behaving that way. I often hear our staff members tell people that we literally work in one of the best schools anywhere because of how great our kids are. You guys are class acts!! Please continue to do your best to represent all of us in our community and to other communities in a way that we can be proud of.

    Go Wildcats!!!
    Mr. Thompson

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You “Chant” Do That