The school year is off and running as students begin competition in earnest MS Cross Country competed Saturday and MS football scrimmaged last week.  Volleyball starts next week.  I feel it is a good time to address the expectation and the necessity of Sportsmanship.  Students are on the fields, courses and courts as an extension of the classroom.  Many lessons learned through competition can’t be taught in a classroom.  The ability to handle adversity, show perseverance, and display courage are traits that interscholastic athletics helps to bring forward in our student-athletes.

As a parent of four former or current student athletes, a coach and a registered sports official;   I would like to convey the importance of exhibiting sportsmanship.  Parents are their child’s biggest fan; I understand that, I have been there.  At the same time, I don’t know one kid that purposely makes mistakes, I don’t know one coach that intentionally makes decisions to hurt the chances of their team being successful, and I don’t know one official that purposely puts themselves in a position to miss a call or set aside a rule.  I frequently see parents yelling at their child for mistakes that are made in the athletic realm.  I hear parents yelling that they could coach better than those individuals spending hours with their children each week in the elements.  I personally experience the ridicule and name calling that officials get at games from parents that have most likely never read a rule book of any sort.

Parents SHOULD be positive and vocally SUPPORT their child’s endeavors in athletics, but let’s remember to keep things in perspective.  Overall  about 7% of high school athletes (about 1 in 14) went on to play a varsity sport in college (1 in 54 at the Division I level)  less than 2% earn an athletic scholarship.   With that in mind, the kids work hard to play, the coaches’ work hard to prepare and officials work hard to provide a fair game.  Sportsmanship can be summed up in the following phrase which has been said many ways, “let the kids play, the coaches’ coach and the officials officiate and let the parents CHEER as loud as they want”…………….