Fans told to quieten down
By Michael Butler
Marty McFly was rejected. It was Huey Lewis who told Marty that his band was "just too darn loud." Irony? Yes! A rock band is supposed to be loud. Of course, "Back to the Future" is a movie. It's fiction. This is real life.
At Friday night's Tallassee football game vs. T.R. Miller, fans were shocked when they were given a similar line by law enforcement. Brad Davis was in the upper deck on the home side stands when he was approached by a Tallassee police officer in the second quarter.
"It's really the time when you need to be behind the team," he said. "That was when there was some excitement."
Tallassee was leading the game 7-0 when the officer first made an appearance.
"I want to defend the police officer," Davis added. "He was a younger guy. You could tell he did not feel comfortable coming up there with what he was asked to do."
On the first of two visits, the officer said that there had been a complaint of something being thrown over the railing on fans in the lower level.
"He asked if we had seen anything," said Davis. "I said, 'No.' Then he came back. I assumed he was coming for the same thing. I asked, '(Is) somebody throwing something off?' He said, 'No. Some people down below said there was excessive noise or some loud noise and wanted us to come up here and find out who it was and ask them to be quiet.' You could tell that he wasn't excited about it.
" I turned to the people beside me and said, 'They said we've got to be quiet.' And they said, 'They shouldn't have said that.' It got louder at that point. And, it's probably going to be louder this Friday than it was last Friday."
Tallassee hosts Talladega this week at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium.
Davis said that the spectators in his section were seated directly above the band, adding that the only noisemaker being used was a maraca-like shaker. "They were hitting that chain link fence with it some. It wasn't loud at all. I can't imagine anything that we were doing that would cause someone to say we were too loud."
"There's going to be plenty of airhorns this week," said Chris Lackey, who was sitting in the "boisterous" section. "Just from the experience of playing football, when your crowd is really loud and making a lot of racket and the band is playing, it creates a much better atmosphere. The kids are going to play harder."
The Tigers lost by a narrow margin, 17-14.
"The atmosphere has been poor the last few years," Lackey opined. "When the officer asked us to quieten down, it didn't go over very well with our group. I made the comment, I guess we're the only football fans in the stadium cheering. It's frustrating when you want to see a good product in a good atmosphere and you have stuff like that happen. It's discouraging."
This is a football game, not a golf tournament. Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers knows that all to well.
"We have been in communications with the school system about this issue," Rodgers stated. "It really boils down to an officer following up on numerous complaints from the bottom levels, people not being able to comfortably cheer and enjoy the game themselves. We do understand that ball games entice enthusiasm from the fan base to cheer on the team; however, the issue was not an enforcement measure initiated by the officer but apparently a plea to satisfy the request of those seated on the bottom levels.
"We are in no way going to attempt to enforce quietness at the game; however, when asked or receiving complaints from those attending the game or by school officials to address an issue, we will try our best to accommodate that complaint in a manner that is pleasing to all. We just hope that all those attending the game understand just as we do that they can expect excitement to produce noise, especially with the type of structure in place now at the stadium. The new structure produces its own excessive noise just by people walking on it, much less celebrating things on the field. All those attending the game need to keep this in mind when seated in the lower levels."