Sportsmanship Goes Deeper Than Mascots, Meetings

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Miller

The Illinois High School Association held its first Sportsmanship Summit last week in Springfield.

From the stories I have read, parents took a beating at the thing. They were not invited to attend. Neither was I.

I do have a few thoughts on the matter, however.

A lack of sportsmanship is a serious problem in high school sports. The summit was a noble idea, for sure. But does something like that do any good?

The summit was attended by only about 10 percent of the state's schools. Definitely not a good sign. It sounds like a lot of preaching to the converted took place.

I doubt any of the following offenders attended the summit:

- Last Friday, I saw a football team repeatedly penalized for late hits.

After about the third one, you would think the coach would make sure such play would not be tolerated. Instead the coaching staff gave the officiating crew a hard time for getting the jersey number of the violator wrong.

That's right. Take out your own dirty play on the officials.

- A football coach who is known for preaching good sportsmanship rants and raves at officials like nobody's business. Barking at officials in the heat of battle is one thing. Threatening that they will not work a state playoff game is another.

Hey, whatever works, right? His team tends to receive more than its share of calls at home.

By the way, the same coach last year referred to a female reporter in an unflattering term after she wrote your basic, straight-forward game story.

Nice. Real nice.

- Not to pick on football. A soccer parent accosted one of our writers on the sideline at a match about a mistake in a story.

The writer profusely apologized for misidentifying a goal scorer, but that was not enough for the parent, who berated the writer for the honest mistake.

Hey, parent. Next time you think about leaving the stands, don't. Unless you like to embarrass your kid.

- A pair of visiting volleyball players complained to the home coach following a match after being heckled during the contest by students in the bleachers.

Nothing like showing your guests hospitality.

These are incidents I have come across in the past couple weeks. …