A Stand-Off in the Stands

Wheaton+North+Superfans+2020.+Trent+Tiberi%2C+Tommy+Pelafas%2C+Alex+Goga%2C+Shayne+Yamazaki%2C+Nathan+Meek%2C+Tommy+Gabanko%2C+Benisio+Trusiak%2C+Jack+Stankoskey%2C+Drew+Gorzak%2C+JAckson+Vincent%2C+Aaron+Torrez%2C+Parker+Haney+

Anya Ranjan

Wheaton North Superfans 2020. Trent Tiberi, Tommy Pelafas, Alex Goga, Shayne Yamazaki, Nathan Meek, Tommy Gabanko, Benisio Trusiak, Jack Stankoskey, Drew Gorzak, JAckson Vincent, Aaron Torrez, Parker Haney

Anya Ranjan, Editor-in-Chief

The boys basketball game on January 22 against St. Charles East captured the eyes of many but, not distinctly because of what happened on the court, but rather what happened in the stands. The Wheaton North Superfans were reprimanded by the school administration for shouting negative cheers during the game. Superfan captain, Liam Lindsey explains, “we were told that saying ‘cheeto’ or ‘breadsticks’ was deemed offensive.” The Superfans were told they could no longer chant any negative cheers pertaining to the opposing team for the rest of the season; Principal Biscan explained that  “this wasn’t just a one incident occurrence, it is a culmination of actions we have seen throughout the games. We just want our kids to be nice.”

In response to the administration, the Superfans began to set the theme as jailbirds, wearing orange jumpsuits. They duck-taped their mouths shut and wrote the chants they would be saying if able. This display was intended as a direct suggestion that the school administration was exercising their right to restrict the student’s speech. Lindsey remarks, “we thought taping our mouths would show the school and everyone at the basketball games that our school was restricting our speech for unnecessary reasons.” The administration reserves the right to take disciplinary action “whenever a student’s conduct is reasonably related to school or school activities, including but not limited to conduct occurring: unsportsmanlike conduct” according to the school handbook for 2019-2020.

Varsity player, Christian Halstead said, “All I’m gonna say is the other team’s Superfans do it and as a player, you just have to do your best not to hear it.” It is the contention of the Superfans that if the other teams are able to go negative then they should too. Principal Biscan felt that “our school should be represented in a positive way. This isn’t rocket science,” he said,  “You go to games to support your team. I definitely want student voice, but I don’t want student voice if it’s going to go after and personally demean other students.”

During the  North vs. South game on Friday, February 14th, the Superfans didn’t stick with the jailbird theme and instead set it as white-out. However, they did have chants for specific players. While they were positive overall, they did repeatedly chant “Daddy’s Money” at a South player throughout the game. Whether or not the Superfan captains will continue to push the boundaries with their small acts of defiance seems to hinge on the severity of the administration’s response.