Dear Tell All: I'm a-shamed of UW students whenever I hear them do their "eat s***/f*** you" chant at Badger football games. It's a black eye for Madison, too. Out-of-town guests come to Camp Randall expecting a G-rated day of college sports. The same for local families who bring their kids. And what do they get? Out-of-control student sections with no respect for anybody.
The last straw for me was when I took my middle school son to the Tennessee Tech game. I tried distracting him during the chants but didn't have much luck. "What are the students doing?" he finally asked. I had no idea what to tell him.
Class of '85
Dear '85: To begin with, can we just say these words rather than coyly writing around them? I mean, we're not living in the Victorian age, are we? We hear profanities all the time, in TV and movies and real life, and somehow we survive. Most of us occasionally say such words ourselves, with no harm to our moral stature. So let's admit to ourselves that what the UW students say is "Eat shit! Fuck you!"
Now let's think of the spirit behind this chant. Is it mean-spirited? Sexist? Racially insensitive? No, it's playful. The students have fun doing it. I'm sure it's even more fun knowing that they're driving the older generation crazy. The UW administration, Badger coaches, editorial writers from the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times -- all of these stern authority figures can so easily be reduced to sputtering disapproval. What self-respecting college student would pass up the chance to do that?
If the UW's student football fans were rioting, the way Penn State's did a couple years ago, I'd be alarmed. The chant, by contrast, is a harmless way to blow off steam.
You mention your middle school son. If he has never heard such words before, I'd be shocked. Next time he asks you "what are the students doing?," just say they're acting silly, as college students often do. I bet it will make your son that much more excited about going to college himself one day.
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