Three rows of bleachers in the big gym were broken by the Tam student section at a home varsity boys’ basketball game at around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday night.
The two rival teams, the Tam Hawks and the Redwood Giants, competed in an extremely close and fast-paced game, ending in a
victory for the Giants with a score of 52-46. The game drew heavy attendance from both Redwood and Tam students and the
student sections filled quickly before the game began.
Throughout the game, both student sections participated in loud chanting and occasional disorderly behavior. Both sides booed their rival teams in heated moments and roared with applause when their respective teams scored.
According to Assistant Vice Principal LaSandra White, the behavior of both student sections was not in compliance with the MCAL sportsmanship rules, which state that booing and making excessive noise are prohibited.
“We usually try to advertise [the MCAL rules], which is something that we need to do. We haven’t had a chance to do that, but we need to remind students of the sportsmanship rules,” White said.
Towards the end of the game as the competition heated up, the students grew louder and the Tam students became visibly upset with the small lead that the Giants had over the Hawks. In the last 10 seconds, when it looked very likely that Tam would be defeated, the Tam student section collectively rushed out of the Redwood gym, leaving the bleachers they stood on cracked, and in some areas completely detached from the stands. It is unclear who exactly is responsible, but Tamalpais High School has claimed accountability for the incident, according to White.
Junior Kyle Felder, who attended the game and witnessed the behavior of the Tam students, was angry about the damage of the bleachers.
“I thought [the behavior] was erratic and unacceptable and [the students] should have consequences for their actions. They all just started running off the court. Then later I saw that they destroyed the bleachers. It was extremely unsportsmanlike and it should be punished,” Felder said.
Felder said he believes that in the future more immediate action should be taken to control rowdy crowds during games and discipline from the school’s administration should follow.
“I think [the students] should be kicked out of the game. I don’t know what the consequences will be, [but] hopefully their school does something,” Felder said.
According to White, who has been in correspondence with Tamalpais High administration, the Tam faculty will be following up with their students regarding the incident at Tuesday’s game. Redwood’s custodial staff is currently working on repairing the bleachers as the damage has already affected athletic events.
“They need to be repaired,” White said. “They had an impact on athletics yesterday. A wrestling match would normally be on that
side of the gym to give the audience access to the snack shack, but we had to reverse things because we didn’t want people sitting there or hurting themselves.”
Senior Alex Diaz, who was playing on the court at the time, said he believes the act was uncalled for, even if the game was tense.
“Something we always want to think about is, if you win, be respectful winners, or be respectful losers. They broke some of our bleachers, so obviously it was an emotional game, but we never expect anything like that from our student section,” Diaz said.
Administration plans to inform students about behavioral expectations at school sporting events to prevent future misconduct and hopes to have the repairs to the bleachers, which began today, completed as soon as possible.