Heckling the Other Team's Plays is Not Amusing

by Victor Ambros | 11/23/98 6:00am

To the Editor:

The article about the three Dartmouth juniors who pride themselves in heckling opposing soccer players ["Dr. Heckle," Nov. 18, The Dartmouth] illustrates how people can be so very mistaken about the consequences of their actions and how self-centered behavior can be so easily rationalized. One of the hecklers quotes a Dartmouth soccer player who told him that the Dartmouth team hates to be heckled at away games, and so these students use this fact to justify their heckling of visiting teams here at Dartmouth. Where's the logic there? (It's bad; people don't like it ... so let's do it!) The students even brag about making fun of another student's name or his height or his hair ... particularly if he is having a bad game. Incredible! Guys, morality is really quite simple; if you wouldn't like it done to you, then don't do it to someone else!

These students think they are funny, but they are a source of shame and embarrassment for Dartmouth coaches, players and fans. This kind of behavior is not welcome at other venues here at Dartmouth and for good reason. The hecklers claim to be sensitive to the presence of kids at the games, but they, nevertheless, shout obscene jokes at the expense of players and refs. No wonder that support for Dartmouth soccer, and new outdoor sports facilities, is so low in this community.

These three guys just want some attention, and they are kidding themselves when they imagine that they help the team -- the Dartmouth players and coaches may be able to ignore them most of the time; but inevitably their heckling is embarrassing and distracting to the Dartmouth squad. Most people don't like attempts at humor that are insulting and debasing. We reject this kind of public behavior because it is wrong, and because it reinforces Dartmouth's negative national image. If you are proud to be here, honor the place with honorable behavior.

One of the hecklers says that "Any moron can make offensive comments learned from the less-educated segments of our society." This man needs some "education." In fact, the "less-educated" in our society are generally far more decent than many of those privileged to attend a school such as Dartmouth.

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