Honor Your Opponents

Competition will always be a determinant of character. We are taught that it is an act of utmost rectitude to treat one’s opponents with respect. Indeed, at Andover and in the community at large, it is frequently stressed that the goal in competition is not to berate or attack the opposite side. Rather, it is to support our own school while maintaining a cordial atmosphere for all those involved in the contest. Thankfully, the majority of students that attended the recent Andover/Exeter competitions held true to this standard of integrity. Regardless of their school affiliation, almost all students were gracious, respectful and cordial to their respective rivals. This consistent attitude deserves both recognition and commendation from both Andover and Exeter and serves as a genuine testament to the integrity of both institutions as well as their students. Unfortunately, however, this trend was not universal. A number of incidents, perpetrated by a small handful of students, crippled the widespread undercurrent of courtesy and civility. Granted, these episodes were sporadic and seemed insignificant when taken at face value. However, their effects were of far greater import than a couple of hurt feelings and a blushing complexion. Essentially, these actions put a noticeable stain on the perceived scrupulousness of the fans. While such a damaging label is completely undeserved by most of the students, the actions of a few individuals has assigned this distinction to the student body in general. Perhaps the most notable of the aforementioned incidents took place at the A/E hockey game, an event that packed the hockey rink with screaming fans and painted faces. Although the nature of school cheering was mostly restricted to signs and trademark chants, a small group of Exeter students began a harassing chant directed towards an Andover student. Whether these actions were intended to be a joke is irrelevant. They reflect the dangers, such as a slightly tarnished student reputation, of not entirely reciprocating the respect given to you by the opposition. It is imperative to avoid turning such incidents into an impetus for attacking our Exeter rivals. Such aggression is in no way justified, nor is it deserved by the vast majority of Exeter students. When addressing the issue of friendly competition, communities often run into the heady issue of determining when lines are crossed. Such lines are often hazy, and their haziness is emphasized by the fact that oftentimes, what one group constitutes as an overemphasis on political correctness another views as necessary respect. The Andover students won with enthusiasm and lost with grace. We held ourselves to a high standard of cheering and competition, and proved ourselves deserving of the trust the administration gave us. Our behavior affirmed of the administration’s faith in the students and proved the integrity and upright standing of the Andover community. And that is almost worth more than a buzzer-beater. This editorial represents the views of Editorial Board CXXXIII.