photo by Shahin Ansari
By Ryan Herron
With shirts branded “Splash Zone” on the front and nicknames on the back, the Splash Zone is a symbol of La Cañada pride. Free from strict regulations, the student section, led by the Splash Zone, is an area in the Sports Palace of vivacity and exuberance. Students are proud to be Spartans and are willing to lose their voice to help their team win.
However, the infamous Splash Zone has been recently reprimanded for their actions and sayings at Boys’ Varsity Basketball games. The group of senior boys who act as the leaders of the student section was a major topic of discussion at a Rio Hondo League meeting between the schools’ Athletic Directors.
The allegations against the spirited student group include the harassment of opposing players through repeated chants of “air ball,” “start the bus,” and other supposedly rash phrases. The Athletic Directors agreed that, due to the fact that LCHS basketball is not a college sport program, the chants must be inclusive of all players and not singling out any individual.
Weighed down by rules and restrictions, the student section has lost its fervor. The once animated and high-spirited crowd of students now occasionally chants “DEFENSE! DEFENSE!” or “LA CA-ÑA-DA!”
The students are not merely lacking in energy and enthusiasm anymore; they are being shackled by limitations that strip them of the ability to cheer for their team in their own way.
It’s almost impossible for them to cheer anymore as every word out of their mouth is closely scrutinized by the head of security, the Principal, and the Athletic Director.
Grant Parker, a stalwart leader of the Splash Zone, gave his perspective on the allegations, “The restrictions placed upon us are understandable to a point. Ultimately, it’s no fun. It restricts the home court advantage and sucks the life out of a student body that was growing and increasing the amount of school spirit.”
In the LC versus Blair game on Thursday, February 11th, their inability to chant at their own free will was evident. Besides a few “LA CA-ÑA-DA!” chants at the start of the game, the student section was fairly quiet throughout the game. A large majority of the Splash Zone boycotted the game as a means of making a statement to the administration.
The agreement made by the Rio Hondo League Athletic Director’s forces the Splash Zone and their companions to cheer as a mother would to her second grade son at an AYSO soccer scrimmage. The simplest of cheers aren’t going to rile up any sense of camaraderie within the students or players on LC’s basketball team.
Senior and Varsity Basketball captain, Grant Arthur, stated that, “The Splash Zone is definitely a positive for our basketball team. They get all of the students involved by being the leaders of the student section. We definitely need them.”
To say that “air ball” is harassing a player is merely trying to find a way to punish the students for consistently cheering. La Cañada’s student section is arguably the most spirited out of all the Rio Hondo League schools’. To take this spirit away from the students is to purposefully suck the life out of the student section and to lessen the home court advantage for our basketball team.
“The administration is treating the basketball game like it’s a classroom and wrongly so. They need to recognize the difference between a basketball game and just being in class. I think a lot more goes at a basketball game. It’s a sporting event. I think they are wrong for trying to place restrictions on us because we are just trying to do the best we can do for our basketball team,” asserted senior Splash Zone member, David Yoon.
As the team heads into its first round CIF playoff game tonight versus Northview, the Splash Zone, limited and restricted, will look to continue to rally the students although under close and constant scrutiny by the administration.
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LA CANADA, PROUD AND GRAND. ALMA MATER SHALL FOREVER STAND.