Many of the senior athletes who stepped onto the court to play basketball for one of their last times as a Sentinel Spartan did not know of the events that would follow. Claims of lack of student turnout and lack of support for the boys’ final night was the concern of the original group voicing their opinions. This then sparked three days worth of fighting between Sentinel students––some from opposing activities, and some who just joined to support one side or the other.
While the initial social media post came from a place of frustration--lack of student support at “senior night,” a reply from a student from another activity, though not a sport, claimed most of those who attend sporting events rarely, if ever, attend other activities. Thus, they felt it was hypocritical for this individual to be upset about student turnout.
In the beginning, points made by both sides were reasonable, as the student section at the game was smaller than normal, and the arts over the past years often see a lack of support at their events.
However, from here, all semblance of a mature discussion fell to the wayside, and what could have been a healthy argument lost all focus and turned into personal, hurtful, harmful attacks aimed at appearances, race, and socio-economic status.
So far off the mark, the exchanges became ludicrous. Any Sentinel student should be able to fully recognize how much work athletes, artists, speech and debate members, robotics team members, and even journalists put into their activities. We are creating the problem when we get in fights on social media about this.
To say that one activity is more difficult, more important, or worth more is to belittle the relations we have established between each other as members of the student body as a whole. All of us attending Sentinel--getting through this period of time together--should be enough to unite us.
Truly understanding the statements we and our peers make is a problem we face today, and a problem we will have to face every day, even after graduation. Often, once a claim has been made on social media, our generation immediately agrees, or attacks. Often, we don’t even attack the point, we instead attack the claimant, and anyone who may agree with him or her. Even when we agree, we tend to blindly agree, and may not clearly understand the argument.
People need to take a step back and see both sides of an argument, see why people said what they did.
In the last year, this same scenario has played out on a national level in our politically charged world. We can easily argue in our classes about why the adults around us are acting like children. Yet, we see and say without attempting to understand, dividing us even more. As a generation we generally say we want to unite our country and our people. But if we can’t do it within our own school, let alone our community, then how can we expect to affect change after we leave Sentinel?
To do and say these kinds of things to one another is not something to accept as a normality. This fight between arts and sports may have been a long time coming. The question now is how do we go forward?
Instead of hurting each other, we could have influenced the next generation of Spartans by offering a solution. Attending as many events and supporting as many different programs as possible only makes the school a more positive environment. It takes the first step, to voice the problem, and the second step, to make the change.