As we approach the end of one athletic season and the start of another, I am reminded of the wonderful teaching opportunity presented by high school athletics. We have the chance to help our children understand what it means to work hard as a team, to appreciate fair play, to win gracefully, and perhaps most importantly, to lose graciously.
Because I think we need to take advantage of this important opportunity to teach character, I am asking our coaches to “double down” on sportsmanship. I have played, coached, and watched high school sports for five decades, and nothing makes me prouder than a student-athlete who gives his all and accepts the result — win or lose —with grace. On the other hand, nothing disappoints me more than watching a student-athlete whine at game officials or step outside the boundaries of acceptable competitive behavior.
I am also asking our families and fans to assist in this effort by following a few simple guidelines.
1. When you yell, make it positive. Cheer our team. Yell encouragement to our players.
2. Do not yell AT people. Do not yell AT opposing fans or players. Do not yell AT officials. These actions do NOTHING to support our team, at a time when our student-athletes could really use some support.
3. Be better. Always show good sportsmanship. Do not use the unsportsmanlike actions of those around you as an excuse to act badly.
The word “fan” is short for “fanatic,” but, while it is easy to get caught up in the emotion of a close game, we would all do well to remember that we are watching a high school game being played by high school students.
Thanks in advance for helping the Carlisle family take advantage of every opportunity to encourage development of good character in our young people.