Over the years, I've watched as political correctness has gotten out of control.  It seems that the country is filled with either people looking to be offended or people who are terrified to offend anyone.  The scary part is what this is doing to our children who are being coddled endlessly.  Now, with the latest news out of Wisconsin, we've hit a new level.

StarTribune.com is reporting that the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association sent an email to athletic directors last month with a list of cheers that have been deemed contrary to good sportsmanship.  The list, which is intended to prevent students from yelling at opposing teams, included the following cheers:

  • “Fundamentals”
  • “Sieve”
  • “We can’t hear you”
  • "Air ball”
  • "You can’t do that”
  • “There’s a net there”
  • "Season’s over”

This list is funny to me on many levels.  First, who the heck yells "There's a net there!" or "You can't do that!"?  Secondly, the other cheers on the list aren't exactly vulgar or personal cheap shots, which I would understand banning.  When I was in high school, I heard a lot worse than these harmless cheers and some did cross the line.

Part of the fun of having a high school rivalry is being able to have fun at the expense of the opposition.  Past generations of athletes knew if they allowed a lot of goals, they would hear "sieve" or if they missed horribly on a shot, they could expect "air ball" to be shouted from one side of the gym.  Did those athletes go home devastated?  Hardly, you laugh it off and do your best to get back at them on the ice or on the court.

What kind of adults will the kids of today be?  Kids who are earning participation ribbons and being praised for mediocrity will certainly not respond well later in life when real pressure or diversity does present itself.  Don't we owe it to our kids to prepare them for a life that can be challenging?  A life where if others get the very thing they want, it should make them work harder and not simply cry foul?

If a kid can't handle being called a "sieve" at a high school game, how will he or she handle the much larger adversities that life can dish out?

I'm all for protecting our kids and showering them with praise, support and love.  However, they have to be allowed to experience adversity, to overcome pressure, to know how good it feels to hit a bump in the road of life and come back better and stronger due to their hard work and dedication. Tossing a ribbon to everyone and saying "good job" no matter what isn't doing the kids any favors and it's lazy.

I'm one who is not easily offended. I can laugh at myself and I understand that comedy and competition is often inappropriate by nature.  I hope to raise kids who know how much I love them, have senses of humor, have perspective, who don't wilt at the first sign of adversity,  and who also realize that success is about striving to do your very best at something, not simply showing up.

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