When it comes to varsity sports, make sure that the competition stays on the field. Nothing is more embarrassing than seeing fans taunt each other and opposing teams because they feel it is helping their team. It’s not. It’s embarrassing them, the school and, more importantly, the person doing the taunting.
No one goes to work the next day and says, “Did you see how so-and-so screamed at the ref for a bad call and then ran down to the sidelines to confront the coach after the game. They have real team spirit.” Instead they say, “Did you see how so-and-so screamed at the ref for a bad call and then ran down to the sidelines to confront the coach after the game. They’re a real jerk.”
Unfortunately, this type of behavior can be promoted when people are allowed to annonymously post derogatory comments about other teams, officials and coaches on websites, or have those comments seen in print. You can’t trumpet the cause of sportsmanship in one breath and then provide a platform for malicious and hurtful speak in another.
Student athletes need to remember the same. There is no need for name-calling, derogatory remarks or insults in the midst of competition. If you think you need to do it because your sports role model does it, you have the wrong role model.
Enjoy the competition. Enjoy playing against your peers in athletic contests. Former opponents can be close friends after the games end, and the glory days are retold to children and grandchildren, or even right after the final buzzer sounds.
This also leads to being a good sport. There is no need to insult or talk bad about a team after a game is finished, because the game is just that — finished. Over.
What would be great is when the end-of-game lineup takes place, every player and coach meant what they said when they went through that line, instead of walking through like a zombie mumbling out, “good game” or “nice job.” Be sincere in victory and defeat.
So, to all who are ready for another scholastic sports season, here is to a safe, fun and, hopefully, sportsmanship-filled year of competition.