By Samantha Ciccarelli ‘19
Why do we see professional athletes in the advertisements of Apple or Bose or Beats? Because athletes—no matter their age or level—rely on music for the perfect performance. It’s not simply the hype instrumentals or the sound blasting in their ears but rather the combination of beat, lyrics, and excitement that primes the players for each competition.
With the Ches-Mont League’s new ruling on music starting this 2018-2019 winter season, athletes will only be allowed to play strictly instrumental songs during their pre-game warmups. The principals and athletic directors of the league’s schools collectively established the rule, standing behind the reasoning that too much explicit content was being played in front of spectators, resulting in complaints.
The idea that spectators, including parents and children, should not be exposed to the mature lyrics of certain songs makes complete sense; however, the complete removal of lyrics does not. The curse words and suggestive material of previously played songs were not the result of a lack of songs but rather a lack of enforcement of clean songs.
Of the tens of millions of songs found on Spotify and Apple music, it is easy enough for student athletes to compile ten to twenty songs accepted by the school. Had the rule been that playlists would be more strictly checked for content, there would be no problem because the school advisers are right: people in the stands should not be subject to listening to the “f” word, “n” word, “b” word, etc.
Now, not all athletes may feel affected by the ruling if music isn’t something they rely on, but for the athletes who get their head in the game by feeling the beat and listening to the lyrics of their favorite song and/or artist, this rule means something much more significant. Their routine is changed, possibly influencing their performance.
In addition to this first ruling, a second part to the rule establishes that teams will also no longer be allowed to bring their own speakers onto the grounds of other schools, including into gyms and onto fields. While the first ruling could be damaging to athletes’ performances, this second ruling could work for the better.
The turfs and courts are the property of the school, but when athletes are playing a home game, the area of play becomes their own. It’s where they spend hours of their time each week, and it’s where they deserve to play the music of their own choosing. So, when Unionville athletes go to another league school, such as Henderson or Rustin, the rule ensures they respect the wishes of those schools’ athletes, and when other athletes come to the high school, mutual esteem is expressed.
Not all aspects of the ruling truly benefit the athletes, but it’s clear that the decision of the league was made with the best intentions. The athletic advisers of the Ches-Mont League have consistently shown the highest care for student athletes’ best interests, but good intentions don’t always provide the best results. Hopefully, the Ches-mont League will recognize any serious effects of their ruling and depending on the results over the next few seasons, consider amending it for future years.