Hillcrest’s Varsity Basketball team has never failed to impress, kicking off the start of a promising season with a record of 12 wins and 2 losses, as well as rivaling Thomas Edison’s record of 12 wins and 1 loss in the race to become Queens A' Division Champions. Nevertheless, the world is unpredictable, and things happen so suddenly and unexpectedly that they are out of our control. This is the case for our varsity champion hopefuls, whose season has become vulnerable to defeat due to the administrative decision to ban spectators, the very people who motivate our players to succeed, from all home games.
It all began in early December, when our Hillcrest Varsity Basketball team hosted Maspeth High School. As usual, hundreds of Hillcrest students waited outside to be allowed in. Apparently, Mr. Finkelstein, in addition to other deans and security guards, required IDs to safely identify who was entering the building. Many students did not have their IDs on them, and therefore were not allowed in. As a result, a student became angry and vandalised the school, shattering the glass of a window in the front entrance, and placing himself and those around him in danger. In consequence, Principal Morrison made the decision to exclude spectators (with the exception of the parents and families of athletes) from all Hillcrest home-based games and sporting events for the rest of the year!
Hillcrest students and athletes are undeniably outraged. A petition was then created by Hillcrest senior and varsity basketball team captain Jesly Tabertus and his teammates, directed at Morrison and other administrators. With over 400 signatures collected from both students and supportive teachers alike, Morrison still chose to turn it down after it was presented to him.
Morrison quotes, ‘Basketball has a history of issues’ and ‘We don't have enough guards to control the crowds.’ We have more guards this year than last year, school safety agents who are here to do their job, let them. Hillcrest hasn't had any major issue involving violence during a basketball game.” Fellow Hillcrest senior and point guard Cameron Brown disagrees, stating, “We work hard on and off the court so we deserve our fans, we deserve spectators. They make the game of basketball and our high school experience almost a 100 times better.”
Principal Morrison argues that it could have gotten out of control during that particular incident, and he had to take the necessary precautions to ensure school safety. He states,“I don’t look at it as punishing, I just look at it as saying we are all representing each other. Students represent everybody.”
Morrison has the best interest of the school in mind, but as Hillcrest’s head varsity basketball coach Hector Nunez states, “It is unfortunate that for one bad apple, everyone has to pay.” Students and players should not lose their privileges and be held accountable for the naive and ignorant actions of one sole person of no relation to Hillcrest sports teams. That person alone should be reprimanded and forced to face the consequences of their actions, not the whole school community. Hillcrest is dynamic and progressively changes, which makes the Hillcrest of today evidently different from the Hillcrest of the ‘80s or ‘90s.The whole purpose of home games is home court advantage.
There are ten seniors on the active roster of Hillcrest’s Varsity Basketball team, and unfortunately, in their last year, that’s what they’re going to remember: nobody came to watch them play. This is in addition to the hundreds of other Hillcrest seniors who are exempted from all home-based sporting events. The hope of having spectators during playoffs remains indefinite as well.