A few weeks ago, the Male Posse attended a hotly-contested Battle of North Carolina...of sorts. It was a soccer match between our own Chapel Hill Tigers and the enemy...I mean "East Chapel Hill Wildcats". (And you observant readers who picked up on the...feline theme...would be correct. There is one more high school in the immediate area, whose mascot happens to be the Jaguars. No idea why, as none of these big cats is indigenous to the region...)
Anyway, when they returned home, the guys were still laughing about--and animatedly discussing--the...ahem..."behavior" during the game. Husband--who for some reason decided to sit on the bleachers designated for fans of East--described a copious amount of heckling of the referees...by the PARENT spectators. On the field, the much-maligned referee issued an unusually high number of yellow cards (and even one red, banishing a player to the bench for the remainder of the time) for...conduct unbecoming a competitor...or some such foul play. Seriously, I can only assume these were instances of such offenses as: blatant pushing, obvious jersey-tugging, overly-enthusiastic slide tackling...possibly even "expressing disagreement" about a call...in an obnoxious rather than diplomatic manner... And each time he pulled out his little colored square to record a violation, the players apparently swarmed him, complaining about the call, pleading their case, arguing for a reversal, etc. Meanwhile, the coaches reportedly worked themselves into a frenzy on the sidelines, protesting loudly and vociferously about the officiating as well. Sheesh. In a nutshell, it was not what you'd call an especially sportsmanlike display--from the stands OR on the pitch. Oh, and at the end of all the hoopla, Chapel Hill prevailed, 3-2.
Aaannnnd, being a relatively small school system, you knew it had to happen: the REMATCH. How highly-anticipated was this second go-around? Husband actually planned the return from his business trip to ensure he would be able to make the game. Then we got an email from the principal at Derek's school (which would be hosting the contest this time). Here's the part of the message that caused my jaw to drop: "Please be advised that ALL students planning to attend the match will be breathalyzed for alcohol as they enter the stadium. This will include students from both schools. Any student with any indication of alcohol in their system will be in violation of the CHCCS substance policy and the consequences will be appropriately assigned and a parent or guardian will need to pick up their child from the event. We are looking forward to an incident free and victorious evening. Go Tigers! #BEAT EAST" (In case you're wondering, yes you CAN get a tee shirt printed with that slogan...)
Whoa...that's just...a little bit freaky! So naturally, this spawned a conversation with the 11-year old, who understandably wanted an explanation of what exactly it means to be "breathalyzed". (I suspect he was envisioning some kind of...vaccine situation...with a needle figuring prominently into his fears.) When I told him what would actually happen, he wrinkled his nose and said in a worried voice, "But...I don't want to breathe on the police!" After I assured him the chocolate milk and juice boxes he consumes daily would not cause him to come under suspicion, he seemed to relax. I, on the other hand, remained slightly horrified by the fact that the administration felt it necessary to instigate such a policy. If this is a Sign of the Times, it's a very sad one.
However, in the Post-Match Wrap-Up, our intrepid Man on the Scene--also known as "Derek"--stated that no alcohol testing had in fact occurred. I suppose it's a good thing that the mere threat of being exposed in a state of public inebriation turned out to be enough to stifle such inappropriate adolescent impulses. In a perhaps related note, Derek added that the mood in the stadium seemed decidedly more...subdued...and socially acceptable...than in the previous meeting of the two squads. This might have been somewhat attributable to the presence of armed, uniformed law enforcement officers on the sidelines...or maybe everyone just chose to be on their best behavior. Whatever the reason, the evening went smoothly, with East squeaking out a 4-3 win this time.
Sooooo...I guess this could be considered part of the acclimation process for high school...for all of us? My goodness, in that case, it could be a loooong 7 years (until Riley graduates)....quick, somebody get me a...Diet Pepsi!