Tipping Point

Harbaugh brothersA week after the Super Bowl and watching the Harbaugh brothers throw tantrums on the sidelines that past month at epic proportions, we have now reached a tipping point where poor behavior from coaches and fans is become more of the norm rather than the exception.

And as a parent, coach, and fan – I have had enough of it.  Because from my vantage point, the only person that loses during this is the student athlete.

I am not sure what my full plan of attack will be to correct this, and I am not if this will be a one man crusade or not.  But I will do my best to correct it.

Going to the Sportsmanship Summit was a good start.  But I think we need to do more.

And here is why.

I recently sat at the scorers table for a JV basketball game waiting for the Varsity game to start.  The official made a call in the early part of the 4th quarter that went against the visiting team.  Some of the visiting parents siting behind the scorers table did not agree with the call.  In fact one parent did not let it go for the next 5 minutes.  Enough so that some of people from his own team asked him to keep it down.

Then the downfall.  The official came over during the next time out to the scorers table to check on timeouts remaining.  The fan was still yelling at the same official.  The official made the mistake of responding, and then the banter picked up to yelling.  I had to intervene and stop the fan from yelling.

I worked the varsity game after and was still a little worked up about the event.  When I got home I started looking for scores from other high school games when I came across this tweet with a video link from Ryan Ellerbusch:

Ryan is a Co-Editor/Videographer/Writer Midwest BallerHe add I had a good discussion after I told him my story and watched this video.  He has some good insight.  I would recommend you follow him on twitter.

Not sure we need to go much further than this for you to see why I need to figure out how to make this better.

Sportsmanship Summit

Today I had the privilege to attend the 3rd Annual WIAA Sportsmanship Summit held in Stevens Point.  I was accompanied by the head boys basketball coach Greg Polkowski, head football coach Chris Freiman, and booster club vice President Amy Kieffer.  Two Waukesha North students also attended with our group.

Sportsmanship SummitThe purpose of the event was to assist member schools in addressing citizenship and sportsmanship issues while developing plans to improve good sportsmanship.  There were 67 school in attendance out of the 507 members.  Waukesha North was the only Classic 8 member in attendance.

The opening keynote address was by Craig Hiller.  He has written a book that I currently own called, Playing Beyond the Scoreboard.  He talked a great deal about responsibility and how you break the word down to respond and ability.  While doing so he expressed in great detail on how we need to create an atmosphere where people are not afraid to make mistakes but rather create great moments.

There were then a 5 break out sessions which we could choose three.

The first breakout I attended was that of Bill Collar.  He discussed the Coach and Participant role in Sportsmanship.  He stressed the fact that we should be doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  The participant must accept personal responsibility.  Bill had a very dynamic old-school style about him.

The next break out was from Shane Been, a vice principal at Sauk Prairie.  His discussion centered around expectations and embracing the ideals.  He outlined 5 fundamentals of Sportsmanship:

  1. Know the rules of the contest
  2. Respect the officials
  3. Respect opponents and their fans
  4. Respect yourself and who you represent
  5. Respect the game

The third and final break out was from Dave Kelliher.  He brought the officials perspective to the table.  He stressed communication, communication, and communication.  He also reminded the student/athletes and coaches that you never know who is watching you play.  He referred to an article by Jay Bilas about toughness a couple of times.  I looked it up and the link is here.  It is worth the read.

The closing keynote speaker was Jay Wilson.  He is a Madison sportscaster and does play by play for WIAA basketball and hockey for TV.  The key take away from his speech was that being an athlete is a responsibility not a burden.

Overall it was a good day to learn more about sportsmanship and how it plays a day to day role in the lives of all of us in the sporting world.  It needs constant attention and is not a once in a while thing.