Restrictions Placed on Haka

Marietta Lehmitz, Kacy Christensen, and Emily Andersen

Early October a part of Bingham’s legacy was lost when the Bingham Football opening ritual, the Haka, was banned from certain games.

Soon after the Bingham vs. Brighton game, Region 3 took a vote and decided to change the rules regarding pre-game rituals or ceremonies.  The rule now states that no pregame ceremonies or rituals can be done on the field at away games.  This includes Bingham’s haka.  The haka has been a tradition at Bingham since 2005 and it has been used to get the team and the Bingham fans excited and come together.

The Haka is based off of a polynesian war chant that is very special to many of our football players and their culture. When asked about the haka Coach John Lambourne said “We took something that has been done in the past, adopted it, and put our own twist on it.” He says it’s a way of unifying the team and the crowd before the game. “Most sports teams have something similar.”

However, while Bingham coaches don’t see this rule as completely fair, they aren’t surprised. There have been bans like this before in other regions. Brighton, who first proposed the ban had one in their old region. Proposals like this are generally controlled by the regions and voted on by the principals. It was put into place by a unanimous vote, with Bingham’s principal abstaining from voting to avoid any bias feelings. Those who support this new rule change, believe that these pre-game rituals take time away from the game and are disrespectful to the home field.

In an interview with Brighton’s principal on KSL she explained that their school and others saw it as unsportsmanlike conduct.  She believes rallying up the crowd of the opposing team is unfair to the home team. Lambourne, however, stated that the haka was never meant to taunt, and that they make sure the players focus on their side of the crowd when doing it. The only time he can remember the haka being said across the field toward the opposing team was when we played the Highland, Idaho team because they say it before their games, too, and the two teams said it together in good spirits.

Coach Lambourne’s advice to the students and fans of the Bingham Football team was to just enjoy it at the home games and keep supporting the team during their games.