Crowd props at football games are safe to use


Photo by Yuval Shachar

Senior JP Rakis sets up the drum for Alejandro Linares to begin the drum chant. The anticipated chant excites students as they wait to hear the beat of the drum.

A good crowd is loud and supportive of their team. Interactions from the stands this fall football season have been limited by the administration’s severe call for safety. This is unnecessary. 

In previous years, students at WJ have brought props to football games in order to increase the hype in the crowd. The main prop, a drum and two sticks, was first confiscated by admin at the Sept. 10 game: WJ v. Whitman. Then again on Sept. 17: WJ v. QO at home. Students’ anger towards administrators is now at large. Senior Alejandro Linares got into a heated discussion with Principal Jennifer Baker and Assistant Principal Terry Heinsey after telling him he could not use the drum or wave a flag connected to a pole. With there being no incidents of these props causing harm in the past, we take Linares’s side. 

The band typically sits at the top of the stands performing throughout games. Cheerleaders join in after every touchdown to congratulate their triumph. They use drums, sticks and they have never been told they couldn’t. How is Linares’s situation different? Knowing Linares, he would never misuse this instrument in a crowd. 

Our first game of the season was iconic. The drum was present throughout the game and it was being used to instruct students in the clapping chant: where the drum is hit and a response from the crowd is a complementing clap. Thirty seconds on the clock and we were about to bite the dust. The crowd was screaming their hearts out as player Miguel Toloza was directing them to be loud at the start of Churchill’s play. The crowd’s uproar made Churchill consecutively go off-sides three times allowing quarterback Will Gardner to score a touchdown claiming victory, 21-17. 

 The next prop that needs to be discussed is the real WJ baby. The celebrity plastic baby who floats around the stands is now loved by all students, and many were heartbroken when “baby” was taken in the first three games due to a fear of it being thrown around. At our game against Wheaton, the crowd began to chant “we want baby, we want baby”. The baby came out into the crowd without being confiscated for safety reasons, ending the quarrel with administration. Handling the toy responsibly allowed students to keep their beloved baby; therefore, they have redeemed themselves to handle the drum. 

The serious danger these props are supposedly causing is not real. They are meant to provoke students in being energetic and engage them in supporting their team as done in previous years. Never in the history of our football games has the drum been confiscated, so why now? Allegedly the sound of the drum hurts peoples ears but I have heard no such thing, and if that were the case the band would not station themselves so close to the crowd. Our administration has not provided students with a valid reason for this unforeseen change and they need to do so if they expect us to accept these terms.