Y ou see them out there, lurking in the ticket lines, and you wonder what mischief they're planning.
Can they be trusted? Are they better off busted?
They're those Fans With Painted Faces!
According to the 1991 Southern Section basketball playoff handbook--under the heading "Body Decoration," it is ruled that:
"Painted faces and/or markings and painting on any part of the body will not be allowed at CIF-Southern Section/Reebok basketball playoff activity."
Once again, you hear a collective groan from students (and greasepaint manufacturers). What's a student to do if he or she can't have a little fun in the name of school spirit?
But the intent of the rule is to deter unsportsmanlike behavior, and that in itself cannot be knocked.
Fights in the stands and on the court have become much more common in the past few years. That must stop.
Some say the perpetrators often turn out to be those with painted faces. Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas agrees.
"When I was a high school principal, there was no question when kids walked into the gym who were painted, they were the hell-raisers," said Thomas, formerly a principal of Foothill High.
"(Banning painted faces) is just good crowd control," he said.
The subject was raised during the Southern Section's general council meeting Sept. 20. Dean Crowley, Southern Section associate commissioner, said that in many instances those attending basketball games with painted faces were the ones who caused the most trouble.
During the short discussion, a soft voice asked the question:
"But doesn't this rule suggest guilt by association?"
Smearing your school colors all over your face might not advance your looks, mbut neither does it make you the Masked Marauder.
When the face-painting issue was put up to vote at the state level, at the CIF State Federation Council meeting in October, the measure to ban the practice failed by a vote of 51 to 50. According to council President Robert Packer, the measure was defeated largely because the rule is difficult to enforce.
Another good point. Where do you draw the line? Do you ban only face paints? What about Magic Markers? Or a good dose of rogue?
Would Tammy Faye Bakker get past the gym door?
But enforcement is only part of the problem. Legislating school spirit--and how you choose to exhibit it--is.
At a football game last fall--the Southern Section's ban on painted faces is not applied for football, by the way--a group of La Quinta High students rushed onto the field to celebrate their team's victory.
All five boys had faces covered with blue and gold paint. All five were running around like screaming meemies but causing no trouble as far as anyone could tell.
Asked whether they knew of the CIF's then-proposal to ban face-painting, they broke into a laugh attack.
"But we're all honor students!" said one, amused that administrators saw them as a threat.
George Giokaris, principal at Sunny Hills, says he doesn't object to face-painting as long as the painted faces aren't causing a disturbance. Those who make trouble are tossed out of the gym.
Which makes perfect sense, painted or not. Fans should be able to paint themselves any way they want--as long as they're not painting others black and blue.