As high school sporting events have lately lacked for civility in many instances, it’s encouraging to hear some schools broaching a discourse on proper game day etiquette. That’s just what rivals Lake Hamilton (Ark.) High School and Lakeside High School did prior to their varsity football matchup last Thursday night.
Eight students from each school — two from each grade level — met Wednesday with Lake Hamilton High School principal Donald Westerman, athletic director Rick Waters and assistant athletic director Jeff Scott, as well as Lakeside Principal Darrin Landry
"We tried to come to a common ground where we didn't cross those lines. And I think last year it was successful. It was a great game. It was a great atmosphere. Nothing was damaged on either campus. So I think it was a success. And that's kind of what we want to do today, is let you have the floor and talk it out amongst each other," Landry told the students in attendance, according to The Sentinel-Record.
"This was a great event because our students made it a great event. That's why I just want to challenge you guys. It's on your shoulders. Keep everything civil. And I'm not seeing any kind of animosity right now," Westerman said.
The students didn’t voice any complaints or grievances related to the game, but they did request that both sides respect injuries on the field and refrain from booing the referees.
Discussions were held concerning student sections themes. Lake Hamilton's will be summer themed, while Lakeside's will be "gold iced out," which communications coordinator Tara Adams described as "gold chains and metallics."
Lake Hamilton senior Carter Manatt said the meeting was helpful. "I feel like just getting to know people that are involved in student sections," and that the Rivalry Game "doesn't have to be all about competition. It's just about kind of atmosphere and community and all coming together and having a good time doing it."
Lakeside senior, Rafe Criss said, "I believe this was a good meeting to have today just so we can have familiar faces and just show that this is a friendly rivalry, and there's no hate. It's good for the community."