Vulgar Language By UW Students During Games Follow Years Of Practice


The news on Thursday about the continued outlandish langauge being used by a segment of the UW-Madison student section during Saturday football games makes me ponder again why people act as they do.

Concerned people have a right to make known to the UW sports department their problems about the vulgar language that can be heard coming from the student sections.  But those same people need to be aware that the antics of these students did not just start during freshman year of college.  There is a long road of all sorts of abusive speech that is too often tolerated in our society many years before these students ever arrive in Madison.

During a gathering in late 2001 I was quite taken aback by a small child while waiting for dinner to start. This rather loud and demanding five-year-old child started singing a parody to the famed Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann”.   

The war in Afghanistan was underway following the terror attacks on New York and Washington earlier that year.  Though there were plenty of reasons to justify a military response to the attacks of 9/11 the words sung by the rather irksome child were chilling.  With cold detachment he repeated over and over “Bomb, bomb, bomb,–bomb Kandahar.”  all in perfect timing to the song that was famous well over 40 years prior to his eyelids being formed.

Cleary this parody was not something heard on the evening news, but something that had been picked up from his older siblings, and allowed to continue by his parents who did not know how to perform their most important job.

It may seem odd to start out my post concerning the verbally bawdy UW-Madison students who embarrass the university with a story about a heartless kid.  But it is at this age where awful langauge behavior starts.

Long before today’s college students chant obscenities and profane slogans during UW-Madison football games they were teenagers like those I encounter all too often on State Street or in the mall.

Loud cursing and some of the most rancid talk out in public can be found from those not old enough to drive or in some cases to even shave.  Both sexes, and all races can lay claim to some rather offensive speech.  If it is not ‘that is so gay’ then it is ‘*******’.  The trouble is that too few adults step in and say “shut it down” and instead accept this behavior as part of the way it now has to be.  Too few adults take on the role of ‘society’s parent’ to bring about change.

As I approach age fifty there is no doubt that the level of vulgar speech and the ease with which it is dispensed has only increased over the decades.  No one can lay claim to having lived in perfect times where cursing was never heard, but on the same hand no one can honestly state that our discourse has not become harsher and more profane over the years.

So when I read (again) that there are ample displays of public profanity coming from the college crowd during Saturday football games I can only ask the concerned public, “What did you expect?’

Those writing letters or making phone calls to the UW sports department about the rather pathetic behavior might want to journey back in time and recall how they raised their own kids.  Or how they handled matters when neighborhood kids came to visit at their home.  Or how the young sports teams talked after leaving the soccer field and what was done to correct it.

I am not suggesting that everyone get raised by Southern Baptist rules of behavior.  But it sure would be nice if more of our college students learned a longer list of descriptive words they might use on football Saturdays so as not to embarrass an entire university.

It might take a few adults to step up and show them a dictionary.

3 thoughts on “Vulgar Language By UW Students During Games Follow Years Of Practice

  1. Bev

    It really doesn’t surprise me that language is a problem with the students when they allow the band to act like those in Animal House. Our son was in the UW band for a short time. I’m not sure if it was the “Rat Races” (freshmen kids crawling under the bus seats while upperclassmen threw beer and garbage on them) or that the ‘newbies’ had an hour to clean up the band’s hotel rooms after the upperclassmen had a full night of boozing or the random sexual acts… but either way, he had the brains enough to leave. It’s disgusting that there is so much hazing in the band and that the university protects it.

  2. James

    I, for one, am glad that we have made the sports programs in both middle and high school sacrosanct–that we cut out arts, music, literature and anything else that might be enriching for the child if there is a budget crisis. The sports programs never get threatened though because the students learn to play as a team and gain that intangible skill of sportsmanship, right? I would say our investment is really paying off when I read stories like this!

  3. Steve Adams

    Oh yes, where to start… I have found that there is no place one can go – short of inside m o s t churches to get away from the most offensive language and behavior. When I was growing up, the reward for anything worse than “Dang’ was an invitation to taste a mouthful of soap, a stern lecture on “Proper English” and a repeat session was much worse. And then came the “Me” generation, where children were liberated and expected to say whatever was on their -minds???? – calling adults and their parents (Notice I seperated the two) and just do whatever felt good, all in the interest of freeing those wonderful children to express themselves, and look at what we have been rewarded with. If you want a real shock – and haven’t already done so – get on facebook… and read what is written there on a daily basis by pre-teens, teens and young adults. Wow, I almost forgot TV…how could I do that, having once watched Two and A Half men and other “Family time” progrms. Bad enough for us to have to reap what we sow….but to have to be bombarded with what others have sown ?. And OK, I’m about done, but if your TV should break down, visit a nearby mall and observe the barely and in some cases not dressed teenagers, writhing around on the benches like mating snakes and worse and……. Makes ya almost want to become a hermit….. Except you have to keep working to pay for colleges to train our brightest and best !!!!

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