I attended Friday nights basketball game between Sunnyslope and Brophy. As I entered the gym before the game, I was thankful to have the opportunity to be there in person to watch my twin boys play for their Sunnyslope team. I know not every parent (including me) is able to attend all their children’s games, for a variety of reasons, so I am so grateful whenever I am able to watch the two of them play. I walked into your gym on Friday night with a full heart, ready for an exciting, competitive game, but because of incidents I will describe below, I left your school with a deep feeling of disappointment that I have not been able to shake.
As the mother of eighteen-year-old twin boys who have played basketball pretty much year-round since they were three years old, I have been to countless basketball games. I have watched from the sidelines as my twins have played teams not only from Arizona but from all over the country. I know what a spirited but healthy rivalry looks like. The behavior I witnessed from your student section during Friday night’s game crossed the line of decency. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have experienced this type of behavior with your school.
During Friday night’s game, as one would expect during any well-attended high school game, there was chanting from both student sections. At first, it seemed harmless. Things took a turn, however, when I started to hear what sounded like chants directed at the socioeconomic status of Sunnyslope’s student body. I paused for a moment to make sure I was hearing things clearly as the chants from Brophy’s student section continued. My suspicions were confirmed and the inappropriate chants continued throughout the game.
This was unfortunately not the only derogatory language directed at Sunnyslope students by Brophy’s student section. This unacceptable behavior from Brophy students continued throughout most of the game, ending only once Sunnyslope had secured victory. Towards the final minutes of the game, Sunnyslope students chanted, “This is our house,” and Brophy students replied with, “You can’t afford it,” over and over again.
This is not an isolated incident. Sunnyslope parents have witnessed this type of behavior from Brophy students on multiple occasions and for many years.
I am sure our student section was not perfect on Friday night, but I did not hear anything from Sunnyslope students that crossed the lines crossed by Brophy’s students. Dr. Lovell, our Vice Principal, does an exceptional job of keeping our kids in line. If our kids are out of line, or if they are tempted to retaliate when they are disrespected, he does not hesitate to correct their behavior. He did a brilliant job on Friday night and in my opinion deserves a big fat raise for how hard he works.
Where was your administration, and why is this behavior continuously allowed?
A student section degrading others due to their socioeconomic status is simply wrong. It is way outside the bounds of a “spirited game.” Brophy likes to promote its commitment to educating young men of high character. That high character was not on display Friday night. I hope that your school will take the time to look at this issue and use it as a teaching moment to ensure this behavior does not continue to happen.
I am requesting that this matter be addressed with your administration and student body. I look forward to hearing about the necessary steps of action you will be taking in this matter. We are all human beings, and Brophy needs to take a hard look at this type of elitist and classist behavior as it is not acceptable on or off a basketball court. Let’s do better, our children are watching, which was made apparent by Friday night’s game.