A fine for enthusiasm?

Aalekhya Tenali, Business Manager

As senior John Bocinsky fired the ball into the back of the net for the state championship goal in double overtime Feb. 17, hundreds of West Shore fans roared with approval and excitement.

Given the momentousness of this accomplishment, it seems to me that it was only natural for the loyal West Shore fans to show their exuberance and pride.

“I don’t think [the Florida High School Athletic Association] has any idea as to what this victory means to all of us as a school,” Principal Rick Fleming said.

And I agree with him entirely. The way I see it, the boys on the soccer team scored the goals on the field, but we as an entire school shared the glory and the pride of that victory.

Therefore, it is preposterous to me that the Florida High School Athletic Association not only attached a $500 fine for “unsportsman-like conduct” after a few West Shore supporters stormed the field. In addition to the fine, the FHSAA also placed West Shore on probation until the end of the next school year in 2013.

To clarify, “probation” entails the cancellation of the next school sport to violate an FHSAA rule; rules that we as a school have found out can be ambiguous and subjective.

Athletic director Bonnie Bettis has mentioned appealing the probation on the grounds that it is an overly harsh penalty. Despite the technical drama surrounding an innocent display of enthusiasm, the fact that the West Shore boy are state champions is undeniable.

I am happy to have sported the massive fan crowd at their big championship game at the USF stadium and congratulate the boys on their tenacity and determination throughout the season, to the very end. I am proud to call myself a Wildcat.