Throwing toilet paper on the trees outside someone’s house is a traditional teenage high school ritual. In Maryland it’s also an offense that can cost a field hockey team a spot in the state semifinals.
As reported by the Washington Post, Severna Park, a high school in suburban Maryland, was forced to forfeit its place in the state semifinals after all 24 players and three coaches were suspended for throwing toilet paper on the house of coach Ann Andrews and several other houses which they thought were the homes of friends.
“They may have gotten some of the houses wrong,” Andrews told the Post.
The decision to throw toilet paper on Andrews’ house wasn’t particularly surprising; the Severna Park team has a tradition of toilet papering Andrews’ house if they win the regional title. The move to do the same to friends’ houses was different, and that’s what got the team into trouble.
The decision to pull Severna Park from the tournament was made by Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto, who took the recommendation of Patrick Bathras, Severna Park’s principal, who had suggested suspending the entire roster and three coaches one game.
Because the next game was the state semifinal, Arlotto decided to pull the team from the tournament rather than stagger the suspensions across multiple games.
While she was disappointed in the surprising way the season finished, Andrews told the Post she was still proud of what her team accomplished.
“They are amazing women,” she said. “They got out of hand and made some bad decisions. That doesn’t make them bad people. They’re upset they forfeited the game, but they’re more sad they let some people down.”