Cotey: Debating sportsmanship



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Thu. September 13, 2012 | John C. Cotey | Email

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:


Wharton wins, Plant complains about Wildcats, fans

Plant volleyball team loses, complains about Wharton reaction, which prompts a 1A story by a local newspaper. Michael Weston, running for school board in district 7, called the Wharton principal a clown in an e-mail to the Times, and his wife cited a handful of examples of bad Wharton behavior.

Storified by · Thu, Sep 13 2012 14:46:37

Wharton has never beaten Plant in volleyball, but it all changed tonight !! I'm so happy I got to be a part of it! DUBS UP !Chanelle Hargreaves
RT @karlyyw414: S/O to the Wharton volleyball team for beating Plant! #GoWildcatsMaddie Arnold
RT @Kaitlan_A: S/o to @chargreaves5 and the rest of the Wharton volleyball team! Congrats on beating Plant!!! #DubsUp Chanelle Hargreaves
“@TBOcom: Plant High parents cry foul at Wharton's gloating after volleyball win. http://tbo.ly/SHID6m” this <<<<<Kaity Fay
I wonder if the Plant community as a whole is a teensy bit embarrassed by today's front page story in the Trib.John C. Cotey
@TheBlueCrew your fans turned their backs when Plant's volleyball players were introduced? THAT IS TERRIBLE!!!! hahaha. Wow. Just wow.John C. Cotey
Breaking: Plant volleyball fans also filed complaint stating they think it's "mean" when Duke fans turn back during opposing player intros.John C. Cotey
Breaking: Wharton's Blue Crew fans cheering passed acceptable decibel levels according to Plant sound meters, Plant volleyball fans claim.John C. Cotey
With apologies to Rick Ross, I think Wharton beating Plant in volleyball was case of Lil bank taking big bank. And big bank is complaining.John C. Cotey
And with 5 solid tweets in a row and a Rick Ross reference @JohnnyHomeTeam just became my new favorite sports columnistZack Zaversnik
@JohnnyHomeTeam I imagine someone's monocle popped out as the final point was won.Nicholas Murray
@johnnyhometeam Like Plant has never celebrated before. Its just upset because it's actually LOSING.Jeff Odom
Hahaha @JohnnyHomeTeam tweets >>>Diego Mola
And I agree with @JohnnyHomeTeam. I think this story backfires on Plant.Joey Knight
P.S. Not criticizing Plant. Criticizing whiny parents who think kids turning backs during opponent introductions warrants a complaint.John C. Cotey
I'd like to think that a large majority of Plant parents saw that article ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE WHOLE PAPER and cringed.John C. Cotey
if I'm wrong...then yeah, I'm criticizing Plant.John C. Cotey
@JohnnyHomeTeam I've known Kent Glover for more than 15 years, and he wouldn't put up with the nonsense he's being accused of condoningRyan Gilliss
These are now serious tweets: Plant complaint cites 50 Wharton students talking and laughing during national anthem.John C. Cotey
These are now serious tweets: 50 students turned back during Plant intros. "It was well rehearsed.."and principal did nothing. (such as?)John C. Cotey
On bad calls, kids chanted "Bulls---". (Happens alot at high school games. It shouldn't. But it does.)John C. Cotey
@JohnnyHomeTeam push it ***TJ
@JohnnyHomeTeam we said "push-it" lolScott Sollazzo
Wharton students now telling me they were saying "Push It" on bad calls, not "bulls----". I totally believe them. #notJohn C. Cotey
@JohnnyHomeTeam but forreal, we keep it classy #pushitScott Sollazzo
@JohnnyHomeTeam there is a hand motion involved, it's a legitimate chantMatthew Rogers
@JohnnyHomeTeam they really doe say push it .. And make a pushing motion in The airJ S T A T
Plant and Wharton lined up for handshake, but Wildcats saw fans and rushed into frenzy. (Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Or unbridled teenage joy.)John C. Cotey
"I was horrified". Yeah, the person filing the complaint was HORRIFIED. Which means afraid for one's life. HORRIFIED. uhhhhhKay.John C. Cotey
If the principal yelled "What, is Plant not used to losing?" to complaining Plant parents, technically he is wrong? But bravo, sir. Bravo.John C. Cotey
Why did Wharton behave like this after a signature victory? Complaint says they are "being trained to behave that way by the principal."John C. Cotey
@JohnnyHomeTeam It's south Tampa, hello, they feel entitled to whatever they want.John M. Kelly
Now, to be fair to Plant, Wharton does offer "Bad Sportsmanship 101" and "The Art of Rushing The Court" as 3-credit electives.John C. Cotey
“@JohnnyHomeTeam: Totally made that last tweet up. I think. We'll investigate.”*ap art of rushing the courtZack Zaversnik
Totally made that last tweet up. I think. We'll investigate.John C. Cotey
RT @Nate_Godwin2: The stuff that wharton did happens during hs sports at alot of games . Its just because it happened to god all mighty ...John C. Cotey
@JohnnyHomeTeam wowwwwwwwwwwwwww! #plantplantplantJafo in Tampa
@JohnnyHomeTeam Wow, that is pretty pathetic.Corey Long
@JohnnyHomeTeam Was Plant on the road for this tilt? Were they expecting "Welcome" banners?Corey Long
And, the coup de grace, the Plant folks are asking that principal Bradley Woods be fired. Yes. Fired. For overexuberence.John C. Cotey
Lastly, if I dont see The Blue Crew wearing FREE BRADLEY WOODS tee-shirts at an upcoming game, then that group should be disbanded.John C. Cotey
@JohnnyHomeTeam This guy is hilarious!!!Scott Sollazzo
All these tweets about the Wharton - Plant volleyball game have me so entertained inbetween classes (: #GoWildcats #DubsUpDiana Valencia
@JohnnyHomeTeam this sounds exactly like Toomers Corner, frustrated fans have to take something of pride from the other school.Matthew Rogers
@JohnnyHomeTeam LOLCorey Long
@JohnnyHomeTeam Wow, these parents need to calm down. It's high school..pretty sure they did the same stuff when they were that age.Megan Macaluso
@JohnnyHomeTeam hahahahaChase Litton
@JohnnyHomeTeam now thats fricking hilarious #youdamanJafo in Tampa
All this talk about the fans just makes @TheBlueCrew vs. @Plantfootball game next month more exciting...plus it's at Wharton. #canyoufeelitJeff Odom
Beginning of a new rivalry in Tampa? PHS vs. WHS. Old money vs. New Tampa. The Past vs. The Future. @JohnnyHomeTeam #DubsUpMatthew Rogers


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