Before the kickoff

? Practicing sportsmanship is about the only commendable contribution we fans can make.

Anticipation is building for the start of the fall sports seasons. Teams are preparing themselves for a new campaign, and a few have even competed. We may be spitting into the wind to bring this up, but now is the time to remind ourselves that modeling good sportsmanship is as noble an aspiration as achieving a winning record. This is true for coaches and players, but especially for fans who, when you stop to think about it, really have no other commendable contribution to make to the competitive environment.

Cheer fanatically and positively for your team. Support the coaches even if you don?t understand every decision. Refrain from bad-mouthing officials, opposing coaches and especially players (including those on your own team). Whatever would embarrass you if you said it or did it in church, don?t do it in the stands either. You represent your school and your community to the world.

Parents, this encouragement is doubly for you. It?s not only the fans sitting next to you who is forming an opinion of your character as they observe your speech and actions. Your children are, too. And their impression can last far longer than the final point or whistle. It can be life changing, for better or worse. ?DR