Choate Day Cheers

7 thoughts on “Choate Day Cheers”

  1. I am all for good sportsmanship and I would be among the first to reprimand any DA student(s) who failed to uphold it. I’ve never yelled “Swing, batter, batter, miss” at a baseball game and I do not like it when others do; it is obviously poor sportsmanship. Not only is it a fruitless effort to interfere directly with the game, it also implies a lack of confidence in one’s own players’ abilities if one is so desperate for others’ errors. In a (somewhat) long-standing rivalry, however, outlandish ridicule of the opponents’ across-the-board inferiority is fun, is traditional and often hilarious. “God made rivers, God make lakes, God made Choate, we all make mistakes” is kinda funny, but it’s absurdly silly and impossible to take seriously (God didn’t make Choate and He doesn’t make mistakes, we do; maybe they mean to discourage blasphemy). It is even tempting to say that the (not at all recent, actually) discouragement of such comes from spoilsports, but it doesn’t and I will get to why I stop short. I applaud The Student editors’ for calling for discussion. The discouragement, discussion, defiance cycle at DA is as much a Choate-Day tradition as the cheers themselves — you’re own archives must surely bear witness.

    You are not being discouraged by spoilsports, though; this actually IS the dialogue you seek and is opened annually by some of the best educators in the world who are encouraging your thoughtful judgment about where to draw the line.

    Obviously, there are DA students looking straight at their home-town best-friend on the Choate side while gleefully mocking them; they can’t wait to catch up over a burger after the game. But there have been fistfights, injuries as well — ugliness unworthy of Deerfield’s heritage. Many students arrive at DA, or Choate, with little or no experience of sports rivalries and can easily get carried away. So this is an education in sportsmanship, grace and dignity. Is it playful ribbing or is it obnoxious and mean? Think before you speak or act about who you are, who you want to be, how you want yourself and your school to be perceived.

    In the mid-eighties, as a sophomore, I was probably not the only 14-year old who simply did not understand the bedsheet-banner on Barton that read “Choke the Choate chicken.” Totally juvenile, totally inappropriate and totally squashed with a couple of humorous, elegant faculty questions — “Is that something you *want* to do? Do you think this will be a successful approach?”

    There was an obnoxious, elitist jeer I won’t repeat because I hope it is dead and I would be loathe to revive it — along the lines of having more money than the other school and so our loss didn’t matter. No class. Not worthy.

    I could go on for even longer about the misogyny, elitism, homophobia, violent sexual innuendo and all kinds of hateful speech that went on, much of which we didn’t even understand, we were just repeating by rote.

    Go Big Green! Make fun of Choate. Be grateful for your faculty and staff. Be Worthy of your Heritage.

  2. I heard insensitivity and the making of “Choke the Choate Chicken” banners have combined to now be the number one cause of death among Americans.


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