Irony and Sportsmanship Collide


Photo Courtesy of Madeline DeVilbiss

Carlsbad High School’s student section flashes “KKK” during rivalry game at Sage Creek.

Sam Bodnar, Editor-in-Chief

Rivalries evoke deep-seeded emotions and while some remain cool and collected, others forget what it means to keep their class. It is no secret that Carlsbad and Sage Creek have a passionate cross-town rivalry going. Each school has been at each other’s throats on road and home games, chanting, heckling, cheering, and channeling school spirit. However, there comes a time when we need to draw a line to retain our composure and maintain a professional, sportsmanlike atmosphere.

In the Bobcat arena last night, the Lancers came cloaked in their purple and black and cheered their heads off throughout the entire night. Students from Sage also arrived with vibrant attitudes and dressed in all white for their whiteout theme. Both sides went back and forth with their own unique chants, yet one cheer from the CHS section would soon prove to have ironic twists.

During the third quarter CHS began to cheer, “Keep it classy” at the Bobcats after the SC student section booed a close call by the referee. Two minutes later, the fun loving heckling was swallowed by irony. In a matter of a couple minutes, three students congregated together with individual signs, each with a capital K. Instead of the game being about a sister school rivalry, it transformed into something much more disheartening.

While I’ve only had 18 years on this earth, I feel educated enough to assert that displaying “KKK” in an academic and sports environment is unprofessional and most definitely unsportsmanlike- especially considering what the Ku Klux Klan is and what they stand for. It’s also disheartening that the Bobcat community was repping the theme of all white (the school’s home color) while this happened.

There is a reason why arenas like the Staples Center eject rowdy fans who fight, spew vulgar language, and overstep their boundaries. It’s because people who attend a game go to enjoy the sport, to represent their team, to engage in a rivalry, and to have a ball. I would have loved to enjoy the entire game and joke with friends afterwards, but instead I was comforting those who were infuriated, offended, and completely disheartened by having “KKK” flashed in their faces. Not to mention that these individuals gathered these Ks together from different locations within their section and sat down to create this.

Now I know that this is not what CHS stands for. I feel secure in my sentiments that they are not a racist high school and that the students who held the Ks are not trying to insight racist actions or reflect inappropriate ideals. CHS students were also quick to point out that a couple of Sage Creek students displayed a sign exclaiming, “Can’t shoot for shit!”

On behalf of my own school, I apologize for the expletive that was displayed. Yet, there is a fundamental difference between a sign that heckles an opposing team with a curse word and three students who gather together to hold up “KKK” in the faces of students dressed in white.

Both schools could have handled this situation better. Sage Creek could have ensured that the fans all had clean signs without curse words, and Carlsbad could have been more careful with the distribution of their Ks. As evident on social media following the game, students from the two schools exchanged apologies and are trying to move past this. It is my hope that the specific students involved publicly apologize for their mistakes and that both schools can move forward with a respectful and loving mindset.

We want to be able to have a healthy competition and a friendly rivalry; to exchange pleasantries, not blow for blow; to only feel disappointed about the outcome of the game and not incidents within it. Yesterday was a catastrophe that needs to be put behind all of us and be remembered as a learning experience (not something to be vengeful for).

As a high school student and someone who has made several mistakes before, I can forgive all of this. Everyone involved has something to learn and once we all come to terms with what transpired, we can move on and continue a healthy rivalry. I’m not furious with the involved CHS students or community, but I will say that I am disappointed.

Those simple three letters stand for individuals who burned crosses and organized rallies to denounce immigrants, people of multiple religious affiliations, blacks and organized labor. Those simple three letters stand for bombers of black churches and schools. Those simple three letters represent the death of 10 percent of black legislators between 1867 and 1868.

Forming “KKK” may have been a very ironic mistake, but it certainly was not funny. This is the type of action that opens doors for future conflict and it is something I do not plan to engage in, nor do I wish our future students to engage in. The forthcoming matchups between our two schools cannot turn into something like what transpired last night. Future generations and classes in the city of Carlsbad should not have to fear anything other than losing when they arrive on a campus for a game.

Irony and sportsmanship did not need to collide. Everything about that basketball game (despite Sage trailing at the half) was incredible to be a part of until the display of those signs. However, the revolving irony surrounding CHS’ chant about “keeping classy” wasn’t all negative. No, for Sage Creek High School, one aspect of that entire ordeal was ironic in its favor.

Early in the game, Carlsbad had a chant where they heckled Sage for not having any track record for graduating classes. CHS has had an additional 60 years for classes of seniors to establish respect as a community and 60 years to set the tone for how a professional and respectable high school should be. I just find it ironic that for all those brilliant and successful classes they’ve had, CHS showed none.