“The obvious learning we want to occur is understanding the situations where what’s described as fooling around and not intending to harm can cross over into hazing,” said Butler. “Consistently the students involved indicated there was no intent to harm and, indeed, on the other side there were no injuries and students aren’t identifying themselves as victims of hazing, but that doesn’t excuse us from responding.”
“The educational component is to teach and reflect on how horsing around, fooling around, can cross over, and what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate,” he said. “Those are valuable lessons to teach and internalize.” – Paul Butler, Bangor High principal to the BDN yesterday.
Was it hazing? Was it just horseplay gone wrong? Like wondering how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, “The World May Never Know“.
What’s left? The conspiracy theories and the playoff game.
First, to second guess the conspiracy theory. When comparing the possible match-ups Bangor could have had going into last week, they would have either faced Deering or Oxford Hills. While Deering has a nice air-game, Oxford Hills is a tough out. Big, physical, and strong between the tackles. In fact, at one point during the year, whoever Oxford Hills faced lost the following week (Lewiston, Sanford, Cheverus, Edward Little all lost the week after playing the Vikings, usually with fewer players going into the post-Vikings match-up then they had coming in to their game against Oxford Hills). Wouldn’t it seem that if Bangor was planning something, they’d try and ensure the best possible match-up, which in terms of team strengths and weakness, would be Deering, not Oxford Hills?
Bangor will have plenty of rest for the playoff game, as nine players were pre-emptively suspended for last week’s game, meaning that although they will all have an out-of-school and in-school suspension this week, they’ll still be allowed to play in the playoff game on Friday night.
Blame the decision makers at Bangor High School if you don’t agree. Blame the system. Or defend the decision makers and applaud them for teaching life lessons (missing out on your senior night because of locker room issues, for example) especially if the punishment fits the crime. Because it’s a school matter, you can do both and neither one will be disproven. In reality, no one wants to win a game when the other team’s best players are out, so expect the Vikings to relish the challenge, as they should. Which sets us up for the game.
Think Oklahoma and Nebraska in the 80’s. Two teams that will line up and run at each other all night long. That’s how to best describe Bangor and Oxford Hills. The drama alone might set us up for an all-time classic on Friday night, but it’s going to take the Vikings playing mistake-free football and the Rams tabling distractions to pull it off. (Sadly, they’ll probably miss the snow)
The best thing you can take out of last week’s game if you’re an Oxford Hills fan: the officials didn’t plow the play dead when the quarterback ran the read option. Now that’s progress.