SDHSAA: Sportsmanship a must at athletic contests by Ally Eckert It is that time of year again when post-season basketball begins. The SDHSAA has asked that you abide by the following regulations for post-season basketball competitions. The following reminder has been sent out to each school by the association.
As we prepare for the upcoming districts, regions, and state tournaments, it is an appropriate time to review the goals of the high school athletic program as they relate to sportsmanship. As educational institutions, our schools are committed to teaching our young people to set goals, strive for excellence, and to properly handle whatever adversity they encounter along the way. This aim is the same in the classroom as it is in the gymnasium.
The greatest challenge to good sportsmanship is adversity. When things are not going well the easy response is to shift the blame. In particular, to shift it away from ourselves to our opponents, or more often, to the officials. When this done, the focus away from the positive, "to play harder or better," to the negative, "how can we possibly overcome bad calls." It is essential that our students maintain a positive approach to handling adversity. We need support of our fans, as role models, if we are to accomplish this.
At times this year some fans have become quite vocal at games and loudly criticizing both game officials and opposing players. This type of abusive behavior is counter-productive to what we are trying to teach. In addition, it creates a very uncomfortable environment for the fans that come out to support their team and wish to enjoy the game. Finally, it is an embarrassment to our schools and to our young people on the playing field. We are asking ALL fans to keep comments positive and upbeat.
All of our officials are deemed competent. They are not perfect, and their interpretation of the action may be different from yours. However, they are an essential part of the game, and they are doing the best they can. Let's strive to pay less attention to their performance and more to the superb skills of our young athletes.
Enjoy the contests you attend the next few weeks and remember the following:
1. You are at a contest to support and yell for your team and to enjoy the skill and competition; not to intimidate or ridicule the other team and its fans.
2. School athletics are learning experiences for students and mistakes are sometimes made. Praise student-athletes in their attempt to improve themselves as student, as athletes, and as people just as you would praise a student working in the classroom.
3. A ticket to a school athletic event is a privilege to observe the contest, not a license to verbally assault other and be generally obnoxious.
4. Show respect for the opposing players, coaches, spectators, and support. Treat them as you would treat a guest in you our home.
5. Refrain from taunting or making any king of derogatory remarks to your opponents during the game, especially comments of ethnic, racial, or sexual nature.
6. Respect the integrity and judgement of game officials. Understand they are doing their best to help promote the student athlete, and admire their willingness to participate in full view of the public.
7. Use only cheers that support and uplift the teams involved.
8. Be a positive behavior role model through you own actions and by censoring those around you at events whose behavior is unacceptable.
Just a reminder of the SDHSAA tournament team and spectator conduct rules. The following rules apply to all district, region , and state events, and for all the regular season contests. No banners, signs, noisemakers, hoops, mini-tramps, tunnels, and laser � ALL ARE PROHIBITED. Standing on seats and jumping up and down, in unison, is prohibited. Cheerleaders, spirit or yell leaders will be allowed provided they are designated by their school and appear in a school approved uniform. All fans must wear shirts. Pennants, number 1 finger, homer hankies, towels, pom-poms, and painted faces will be permitted.