High school football season began in earnest last weekend as Illinois schools opened their season, joining their Indiana counterparts who started a week earlier.
The season offers everyone a chance to go out and cheer for their local teams, to applaud the hard work by the players, to support school groups with their dollars and – sadly in too many cases – listen to a loud-mouthed jerk up in the stands scream at officials, coaches and players.
Football, we sometimes forget, is a game. It is being played at the high school level by young people.
By rule, they are expected to act with sportsmanship.
If they don’t, they and their team can suffer penalties that could influence the outcome of the contest.
These young people look to adults to set the example for behavior.
The guy screaming in the stands, apparently believing a high school football game is worth risking cardiac arrest for annoying everyone within six rows of his seat, should face potential penalties as well. And some schools do enforce rules on the adults.
Behave badly and prove to everyone you have no tact or class? Great. You could be banned from home games for the rest of the season.
Everyone wants their team to win. Yelling obscenities at officials or screaming at the coach for a perceived mistake bears absolutely no influence on the final score.
This season, go to the games and cheer the good plays, the hard work and join in the school spirit.
Be a jerk someplace else so the rest of us can enjoy the game.