Heckling occurs at Sporting Events Worldwide

by Benjamin Rifkin | 11/25/98 6:00am

To the Editor:

I feel that Victor Ambros' letter to the editor [Nov. 23, The Dartmouth] concerning heckling at Dartmouth demands a response. Heckling is not a Dartmouth phenomenon by any means. One need only turn on the television to find examples of students and fans supporting their favorite professional, collegiate and even high school athletes and teams through intelligent and sometimes unintelligent remarks aimed at the opposition. The point of such comments is to create an atmosphere of intimidation in the home arena for visiting teams and to charge fan support.

I have participated in many athletic contests in such an environment and have been the object of heckling on several occasions. Hating heckling when you are its pointed object is a requirement of the game. The point of heckling is to get inside a player's head, to divert his or her attention from the game to the surrounding atmosphere.

The fact that Dartmouth players do not enjoy being heckled at away games only reinforces the notion that heckling is an essential facet of the game. On the same note, I live with two starters for the Dartmouth squad and have been told that the Dartmouth bench, as well as the visiting bench, often laughs at remarks shouted from across the field.

We three guys do not "just want some attention," as Ambros so wrongfully assumes. We heckle because we do have pride in our college and will not sit by with our hands upon our knees and simply watch an athletic contest. Attending an event is only the beginning of pride and support. The true fan takes an active and spirited position in bolstering the team.

The fact that heckling has generated such a buzz within our community demonstrates the hyperbolized place political correctness and sensitivity are taking in America and especially on the Dartmouth campus. I do not make assumptions about a person's motivations for his or her actions. I ask first. I want to be informed before making blatantly skewed comments. If there exist people who assume "we need an education," perhaps it is because theirs has become stagnant.

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