Bail on the booze

Lucy Schaefer, Sports editor

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LT spirit has been a defining characteristic of our school for decades. Students have always successfully toed the line between rowdy heckling of the opponent and unwavering support for our own team, and we always leave the stands proud, no matter the outcome. LT student sections have been the backbone to our success—the key motivator for our athletes. We, as a student body, have never failed to support our school. Over the course of the past few years, however, a new trend has arisen as students develop a different agenda.

The presence of alcohol at sporting events has become an increasing issue, and we have most definitely witnessed the effects. Upon entering the gates of Bennett Field, students may find security checks similar to that of an adult concert: bag checks and the disposal of all outside beverages. Security guards now eye down the bleachers for drunken behavior, far more concerned with our actions than the athletes. This trend is upsetting. Why can’t students soberly cheer on and lift up some of the state’s best athletes? Clearly, we are losing sight of what it means to be an LT student section.

It’s time for our student body to take a step back and reevaluate our purpose. Student sections exist to encourage great play, and hopefully, in classic LT style, crush the spirits of the opponent. As an underclassmen, I always found it hysterical when leaders of The Hooligans would research the other team’s players and gently haze them for their social media profiles. I remember looking up to the leaders of Lion’s Den, who would continuously develop wild chants to last the entire game. I remember a time when students genuinely enjoyed watching the hard work of our athletes unfold on the field, court, or pool as we fought for victory. Where did this lighthearted spirit go?

Now, many students are more preoccupied with themselves and their own experience. The focus has left the athletics and is now shifted on the fans and their social lives. This is not the purpose of a student section. We instead support the team, inspire them to do better and, in LT tradition, belittle the opponent. Most importantly, we do this without the influences of illegal substances. Surely we are mature enough to realize that LT sporting events are neither the time or place for alcohol. It’s not too late to turn this trend around.

Of course, our spirit hasn’t disappeared. There still remains a very solid fan base for LT athletics. Many students continue to carry on LT’s student section legacies. I applaud their attendance and efforts, as should everyone. This spirit, however, is hampered by the unnecessary actions of a few. Stumbling students, police surveillance and watchful faculty destroys the spirited atmosphere of our sporting events. Faculty members are just doing their jobs to assure that our students are attending events legally and for the right reasons, and it’s time for us students to do our part.

Let us not forget the strong impressions we leave on our successors. We are the role models, the ones that young children can’t wait to become. We are sending the wrong message by bringing alcohol into our stands. By returning to our values of intense spirit, dedication to the school and support for the team, we can piece back together the outstanding reputation our student sections once had. I idolized upperclassmen for their dedication to the school and their unity in the stands, and I can only hope we leave a similar legacy for the classes yet to come.