We received an email Tuesday from irate Plant parents, read it, passed on it. We get them a few times a year, parents complaining about the fans from another school. We hear dozens or more such complaints in person. Kids, most of the time, being kids — a little unruly, a little hyper, a little overexuberant. It happens, especially when, in this case, Wharton volleyball beat Plant volleyball for the first time ever.
The e-mail, forwarded to us by Michael Weston, who is running for Hillsborough County School Board District 7, is a complaint lodged by his wife Jennifer and co-signed by three other parents and Danielle Durham, the junior varsity coach.
It claimed at least 50 kids talked and laughed during the national anthem (no number on how many were wearing hats), sang the end of the song in “a mocking way,” then turned their backs while Plant players were introduced, which has been going on for, oh, ever.
The complaint accused the fans, namely Wharton’s boisterous Blue Crew, of chanting “bulls---” on bad calls even after being warned by refs, and lamented the lack of action by the Wharton administration.
And the Westons were “horrified” to see the Wharton players, who again had never beaten Plant, join in with fans that mobbed the court. It is considered good sportsmanship to do so, and that’s a fact. But the exuberance of teenagers after such a moment can be unbridled and uncontainable.
Principal Bradley Woods addressed Weston’s complaint, she claims, by saying, “What, is Plant not used to losing?”
Weston went on to claim that students at Wharton are “trained to behave that way by the principal” and says he should not be allowed to continue in his job.
I was stunned to see the complaint on the front page of a newspaper Thursday morning. Amazed, really.
Did the fans behave that poorly? Or was it sour grapes by Plant fans?
Needless to say, I found it all quite ridiculous. I have seen fights at games not make the front page. I have seen arrests, fans removed from gymnasiums, with nary a word written. Then Plant gets upset about, right or wrong, some pretty typical and not really all that horrifying behavior at a volleyball game, and …well …boom.
I wasn’t at the game, but I wonder if even some Plant fans looked at the story and groaned, knowing it will feed the stereotype that Panther Nation is an entitled bunch. I’m not saying I think that, I’m saying I hear it …a lot.
So I got on Twitter to have some fun. Because this is all meant in good fun. I guess I can't take it seriously. And here’s what followed: