Column: Talkin’ trash

Column: Talkin’ trash

Hey you, the person reading this column, you’re ugly, and so is your mother. And you know what? Your dog is pretty ugly too.

That really got to you, did it not? It’s trash talk, whether it be amongst friends, on the playing field or in front of a TV, the majority of sports fans (and some players) have done it. It’s not hating, it’s just an attempt to throw someone off their game, to distract them with hopes your side can capitalize.

And I love it. But soon it won’t matter a bit, as recent trends are looking to put a bar of soap in everyone’s mouths.

Our rival, Boston University, has made it policy to expel unruly fans from games for making comments toward players that employ foul language or sexist or racist remarks. I’m no Archie Bunker; but there is a definitive line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t, and a suggestion by the university toward fans not to use racist or sexist remarks is a step in the right direction.

But it should be that and only that: a suggestion, not a rule.

If a fan were to run on the playing field and interfere, that would be a good time to kick them out. It’s annoying, takes action out of the game and shouldn’t be tolerated or encouraged. But taunting is part of sports, and attending a game would be a lot less interesting without it.

The anti-taunting movement has gone beyond the stands and onto the field as well. In the NFL, a team is given a 15-yard penalty for excessive and unsportsmanlike conduct on the field, which includes celebrations.

So no more chicken dancing, a little less Lambeau leaping and a lot more referees who are just itching to flag a player.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said sophomore forward Joe Vitale of the men’s hockey team. “The players should just do what they want, it’s not a big deal. The ref should have no say in it. If the player responds to trash talk and does something like what Zidane did it’s going to hurt their team. It shouldn’t be up to the refs, they shouldn’t be a parent-like figure.”

Vitale is referring to French soccer star Zinedine Zidane, who head-butted an Italian player in the World Cup title match in response to remarks made about his sister. The head butt seen around the world earned Zidane a red card, and he was immediately thrown out of the game.

Let the players control it themselves, and not the referees. It’s the players who trash talk, and it should be the players who resolve it on the field, ice or court.

“I say it is definitely part of [hockey],” Vitale said. “Certain players do let stuff get in their head, so obviously it’s effective. Sometimes you’ll give a good player a shot at the whistle and say something to try to get into their head. I’ve definitely seen kids letting stuff get into their head, and then they do something unnecessary in the game.”

Effective? Just look at Zidane – the dude went crazy. Or perhaps check out the banter between home plate and the mound after a pitcher throws one high and tight. Even better, imagine what a defensive end says to a quarterback after laying him flat on his back.

As fans, we are kept out of the loop of these colorful exchanges. What we do have is the ability to boost our team through cheering, take down a player by jeering or make anyone in a 10-foot radius laugh with an absurd comment.

It’s not only a part of sport, but of life. If that dude’s no good, let them know in the manner you see fit.

Sometimes trash talk works, other times it doesn’t. It’s an art.

I do know one thing, however, and this is certain: Nothing can shut someone up more than a win.

“If you really want to get to a guy you just go out there and score a couple of goals,” Vitale said. “The main thing is just getting the wins at the end of the day.”

– Matt Foster can be reached at [email protected]

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