Major sporting event tradition denied at UHS

UHS students (from left to right) – San Agarwal (Jr.), John Wahidy (Jr.), Youssef Galal (Jr.), Koichiro Sato (Jr.) – displaying their spirit shirtless before being escorted out of the Woodbridge vs. UHS game on October 10. (Courtesy of Caitlin Miner)

Staff Writer

If you have ever watched a major sporting event on television, you will see people with names written across their bodies to support a player or a team. That tradition holds true in games at both the professional and collegiate levels.  It represents pride and spirit for a player or a team, as well as enthusiasm for the game.

However, this behavior was deemed unacceptable at University High School (UHS).  At the Woodbridge versus UHS Pink Out Football Game on October 10, my friends and I were kicked out of the game for showing high levels of enthusiasm for the UHS team and its players. We were escorted out of the stadium for having our shirts off, while students booed security and questioned the disciplinary actions.  The reasons for the ban are questionable and unclear. Alex Benavides (Security) said that “having your shirt off is violating the dress code, and [the rule] is not up to me. We just have to enforce it. Not everyone approves of it. We’ve had complaints before by a few staff members in the past.”

Youssef Galal (Jr.), one of those escorted out, said, “I understand that the fault is not with the security officers. They are simply doing their jobs. The problem is the rule against this show of spirit. This is a tradition. Every competitive game has fans that [write on their bodies], so I don’t understand why it is wrong.”

Koichiro Sato (Jr.), another person who was asked to leave, said, “This was just illogical. Past alumni at University High School have all done this. Last year there were multiple games when people did the same thing that we’d done with no consequences. Why is this rule being enforced now as opposed to before?”  He also added, “I was trying to help my friend, Youssef, ask his girlfriend out to homecoming on Spirit Night, and we had a group of ten guys with a letter on each body, but I was told during the game that if I step on campus [without my shirt], I would lose my parking permit.”

This rule should be reconsidered: it is unnecessary and just limits the amount of spirit that students can display. Changing the dress code for different circumstances leads to confusion and is not always fair because someone can be dress-coded while others may not. Why can some people bypass the rule but others cannot? Shirtless water polo players do not seem to offend others, and clips of swimmers in Speedos are shown all the time on Univision, yet if a person is shirtless for a football game, the act is deemed offensive.

At the end of the day, this dress-code regulation is just unnecessary. Football games are not mandatory events, so those who do not support open displays of team spirit do not have to attend. Those who have attended have not complained about open displays of spirit, meaning there really is no reason for the dress-code in the first place. Even if there is, the rule itself is vague and its enforcement is arbitrary. If the administration is to punish students for breaking rules, they should at least inform students that there is a rule to begin with.

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