10/16/13 A 20-year tradition at Plymouth High School football games has come to an end. Over the years, as the PHS team scored a touchdown, the song “Rocky Top” was played. But after Plymouth Schools Superintendent Daniel Tyree received telephone calls a few weeks ago asking if he was aware of the reference to moonshine in the song, he performed an internet search to confirm that the lyrics did indeed include the wording that talks about living the good life and drinking moonshine. Moonshine is a type of whiskey that has historically been produced illegally.
At that point, he made the decision to halt the use of the song.
The nickname for the team is the “Rockies” and they play on a field called the “Rockpile”; so the Osborne Brothers 1967 recording of the song “Rocky Top” seemed to be a natural tie in.
Tyree said, “That song is not something that should be played at a high school event. It’s not the image we want to portray.” He added, “Games are a community event and what we do represents our entire community to another community. This is not the image I want us to portray.” He said, “This song was something we celebrated to. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
Tyree pointed to the “core values” that were adopted by the School Board. Included in the list is “integrity” and indicators included under the word. “That indicator asks if “we walk the talk”.” he said. “I think schools need to take a stance against the use of alcohol.”
Despite the ban, some students sang the song a cappella at the Friday night game. Reportedly, some students are gathering signatures on a petition to present to school administrators. Tyree said, “I understand students not understanding, but I don’t understand adults not understanding.” According to Tyree, he and PHS Principal Jim Condon had talked with class leaders and to schedule a meeting to discuss the matter. “We established a path for communication, but some went around that path (contact media).” Tyree said.
Carol Anders Correspondent