IASAS is an important event that has become central not only to athletics programs but to the culture of all schools involved. Teams battle their hearts out as medals are won, friendships are made, and traditions carried out. Athletes will notice a change in the typical IASAS experience as we say goodbye to the infamous “IASAS hugs” chant at the final banquet.
The “hugs chant” is a game where teams simultaneously smack their hands on tables and repeatedly shout a boy or girl’s name from their team. This teammate must then, in midst of the chaos, stand up and find another IASAS participant to hug. As the two meet, it is followed by a roar of laughter and cheer.
Administrators across all IASAS schools have banned this activity. Mr. Naughton, our Athletics Director, gave his input and some insight into why the decision was made. “I stand behind the decision to cease the practice of the IASAS “Crush” as it is currently performed. By definition, “hazing” forces individuals, who are attempting to become part of a group, to perform humiliating tasks. Our students are already a part of IASAS by working hard and earning a spot on the travel team due to their positive behavior and their reward should be a positive experience, not an experience in which makes them feel uncomfortable in front of their peers.”
To get an understanding of the reaction towards this initiative, I inquired several students for their opinions. When asked about the cancellation, Hannah, ‘18, a resident athlete who has participated in seven IASAS events had to say, “Personally I wasn’t super involved in it, and in today’s world I think we have to be a lot more accepting, even if two people are uncomfortable out of 200, we shouldn’t be doing it… but it’s a shame because I always thought it was kind of a really great way to make friends, and I think it’s kind of a bummer to see a tradition die that a lot of people enjoyed at IASAS.”
Thomas, ‘20, who participated in his first IASAS event this year, shared similar views, “I thought it was just a real fun experience…. I didn’t really even feel too intimidating being one of the younger players there and doing it (the hug) because everyone else, like even the older ones, were doing it too, I kinda think it was just nice to meet people too.”
After asking more students, the general consensus was the same. While many understood the reasons for the change, they were sad to say goodbye to a tradition that cultivated friendships and the culture of IASAS.
But the end of this one tradition doesn’t mean the entire culture and traditions IASAS has built will also fade away. “I believe there are many ways our students can socialize with students from other IASAS schools without the inherent issues of the current IASAS “crush” and I urge any student to come up with a replacement to this outdated, informal part of our IASAS events.” Mr. Naughton said.
The next time you find yourself at IASAS and think it is missing some of its connectivity or culture, take your own initiative. Talk to someone at another school and make a new friend. Create a new tradition that people will continue years to come to remain intact the feeling of IASAS we all love so much