Mark’s Remarks | Rivalries

Rivalries between schools have been around since schools and sports teams were invented.  We’ve heard stories of rivalries getting a bit out of hand. I’m sure there are plenty of instances folks can tell us about.

Recently, there was a game between two local schools. The rivalry between these schools is well-known, perhaps legendary.  I’m sure we could interview alumni of both schools and hear all kinds of stories.

I must qualify what I’m about to say with a disclaimer: I wasn’t at the game in question.  However, after first hearing the story, I’ve talked to more than a dozen people about the incident I’m going tell you about. The stories are all the same. It’s quite possible the story isn’t completely accurate — even if I did talk to a bunch of people.  Perhaps they all heard the story too and didn’t actually attend the game.

According to spectators attending the game, there were a few students sporting T-shirts which were meant to publicize their opinion of the rival team.  The shirts caught the attention of everyone there.

Apparently, the T-shirts displayed a profane word followed by the name of the town. Without being too vulgar, I will tell you the first word was a four-letter word beginning with the sixth letter of the alphabet.  The first two letters of the profane word were interchanged with the first two letters of the town name.  You might have to write it down to get the full effect.  My apologies.

My first reaction when I heard of this was “How sad.”  Now, it wasn’t proven to any of us hearing the story how many kids were wearing the shirt. We don’t know for certain if the shirts were handmade or made by a professional. It’s not certain if parents approved or even knew about the shirts.

I want to know what has happened to our homes. Do we know what our children are doing, who they are hanging around with, and how they are conducting themselves in public?

Furthermore, do we know parents who participate and even encourage such behavior?  I mean, we are hearing about parents hosting underage drinking parties all the time. Again, mostly hearsay, but isn’t there always truth behind it all?

What’s bad about it all is that much of the behavior of teenagers is starting to be acceptable.  Perhaps I’m a prude. I’d like to know how many prudes are out there, really.

I saw a picture in my hometown paper in which a boy was participating in a contest for homecoming week. He had won some type of “twerking” contest in which he gyrated his hips and saw how many golf balls he could either throw or catch with the help of a box attached to his mid-section. My understanding of the term “twerking” is that it is a suggestive dance. And it was part of homecoming festivities; many of them planned and watched by adults and other students.  We wonder why kids get involved with sex, pornography and other things at young ages.  It’s a shame.

And to all the parents of these kids who wore the T-shirts: Did you know about this? Did you permit it? Did you encourage it?
If so, shame on all of you.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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