08/22/2012 09:40 am ET Updated Oct 22, 2012


"AIRBALL!" The crowd goes wild when the opposing team misses a shot badly, hitting nothing but air. The player is embarrassed for a second, but quickly recovers and heads back to playing defense. Now what's so wrong with that?

At a recent basketball game at my school, a bunch of students were kicked out by the administration for cheering after a missed shot and yelling, "Start the buses!" once we were up by several points and victory was within our reach. This is unbelievable to me, for I have seen instances where fans threatened referees/players and no consequences were issued. Our administration needs to lighten up a bit -- they're being way too harsh on our fans.

From my experience actually playing the game of basketball, I've learned that motivation from fans helps tremendously. Whenever you make a big shot, applause and cheering from the crowd makes it that much better. And even when you make a critical mistake, support from the audience picks you back up and prepares you for the next play. As soon as you take this away, a huge piece of the puzzle is missing. Our school team's record would start to deteriorate if we didn't have a huge crowd cheering them on each game.

I've actually been on the opposite side of the cheers as well, and I can honestly say it's not as bad as it sounds. Being heckled by the fans in fact motivates you to play better; there is nothing better than silencing a rowdy crowd by making a crucial play against their team. And when you're playing a game as intense as basketball, you should be focused enough to ignore the degrading shouts of the opponent fans. Instead of listening to the chants of the fans and then reacting negatively to them, I try my best to concentrate and worry about the people playing the game, not the ones watching it. And if the fans shouldn't be allowed to test these players' focus, why is it ok at the highest levels of basketball, such as college basketball or even the NBA? If it wasn't a vital part of the game of basketball, players would be competing in an empty stadium, hearing nothing but crickets.

When you're a fan during a tight game against the rival team, you can't help but yell and scream when a friendly player makes a shot with extreme difficulty, putting your team up by a point, or even when an opposing player loses the ball out of bounds, handing over the possession. If fans are not allowed to do this, then they will become bored during the course of the game and will not attend future competitions. Low attendance will serve many consequences, such as less money for the athletic department, lack of school spirit, and most importantly, shoddier performance by the players without a fan base to back them up. With all of these outcomes, wouldn't it only make sense to allow fans to cheer for their team?

All in all, fans should undoubtedly be allowed to cheer during a game; it should even be encouraged. Yes, cheering can get to a point where it is vulgar, degrading, or even threatening, but until it gets to that point, and it will be obvious when it does, administrators should think twice before preventing students to start a chant or let out a friendly cheer.