News item: The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has discussed a ban on booing and offensive chants at high school games in the state.
The 2007 WIAA Guidelines for Fan Behavior at the State Basketball Tournament
Face painting is hereby banned due to its gang and militaristic connotations. Finger painting will be allowed in its place, with choo-choo trains, maple leaves and hand-print turkeys particularly encouraged.
Throwing toilet paper onto the court is banned due to the harmful effects on the environment as well as the uncomfortable scatological images it provokes. Instead, when fans are excited by a performance they should toss out gold stars to raise the self esteem of the players.
When an opponent's shot misses the basket, fans may no longer chant "air ball, air ball." They are to chant "nice try!" and "keep your chin up, you'll get them next time!"
Pep bands are not allowed to play school fight songs because this promotes unhealthy divisiveness. They may fire up fans with the more inclusive and community-building "Kumbaya" instead, with each school responsible for providing a qualified professional who will perform the song in sign language.
Cheerleaders may no longer wear revealing short skirts or halter tops or blouses with plunging necklines because this often prompts troublesome thoughts of sexual activity that can lead to unwanted teenage pregnancy. Uniforms of Carhartt work pants and long-sleeved flannel shirts are strongly encouraged, but if a cheerleading team insists on wearing skirts, they must fully cover the rear, the knees, the calves and the ankles.
Further, cheerleaders are not to dance, gyrate, shimmy, shake or otherwise move any part of their bodies in a suggestive manner for reasons similar to those stated above. They are to stand at attention on the court, raising their pompoms no more than twice a minute and no higher than seven inches above their heads.
Fans are never to heckle or insult a referee no matter how bad the call. Acceptable comments include: "Well, that's not the way I saw it but you had a much better angle than I did, and were much closer to the play, and are much more experienced in such things, plus I had my head turned briefly to look at Jessica from social studies class, so maybe you're right. Either way, one call doesn't really matter much in a long game."
Due to the extreme danger of paper cuts, teams are no longer to take the court by bursting through banners held up by cheerleaders. To lessen the chance of injury, they are to walk -- not run -- from the locker room to the court, always holding the hand of a teammate and looking both ways while a uniformed school safety patrolman clears the path.
Big puffy hands are still allowed but not if they depict a raised index finger designed to indicate one school's alleged supremacy. This encourages feelings of pride and hubris. Instead, the puffy hands must depict the fingers pressed together and spread apart in the Vulcan symbol for long life and prosperity.
The "we've got spirit, yes we do, we've got spirit, how 'bout you?" chant is immediately banned because of its unacceptable implication that one school's fans are inferior to the other. The chant will be replaced with a chant restating Robert F. Kennedy's words of peace, "Those who live with us are our brothers, they share with us the same short moment of life; they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can."
Fans must not attempt to distract an opponent when he prepares for a shot at the foul line. If you can't sit quietly, politely applauding his effort between shots, you should walk away where he can't see or hear you. Remember, "free throws" should be free.
Excessive celebrations will not be tolerated after a team's victory because such celebrations only inspire further emotions of hurt, sadness and loss for the opposing team and its fans. However, this should not be a problem because the WIAA will no longer keep score at state tournament games. After all, we are all winners simply by participating!
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached here. His Web site is at jimcaple.net, with more installments of "24 College Avenue." His new book with Steve Buckley, "The Best Boston Sports Arguments: The 100 Most Controversial, Debatable Questions for Die-Hard Boston Fans" is on sale now.