Rhetoric or reality?

We?ve alway appreciated the Central Kansas League?s commitment to good sportsmanship in athletic endeavors, but a few unfortunate decisions in the final seconds of the first half during Hillsboro?s recent football game at Hoising?ton raised some questions in our mind whether that commitment is more rhetoric than reality.

A very young and undersized Trojan team was already trailing an excellent Cardinal squad 54-0 when the home team advanced the ball to Hillsboro?s 16-yard line with mere seconds left in the half. Despite the obvious inequity between the two teams, Hoisington called a timeout with the apparent objective to score again. Not only did the Cardinals accomplish that goal with a pass play, they then faked an extra-point kick and completed a two-point conversion run for a 62-0 halftime spread.

We want to believe the Hoisington coaches were simply focused on honing their ?two-minute offense? skills and temporarily lost touch with the bigger picture. But to numerous Trojans fans, the clear intent appeared to be to run up the score against an overwhelmed opponent. As of this writing, we know of no attempt by Hoisington?s school officials or coaches to address those decisions.

There?s an adage passed on to teenagers that the time to make a personal commitment to sexual abstinence is well before you find yourself in the backseat of a car. In other words, commit yourself to ethical boundaries before you enter the exuberance of a particular moment. Envision possible scenarios that could test your resolve, and decide in advance the actions you will take to protect your integrity if the occasion arises. The same principle can be applied to good sportsmanship.

No school, coach or player is above the temptation to violate the honor code of good sportsmanship. But to make the rhetoric a reality, the principles must be intentionally expressed in the context of competition. Our hope is that one unfortunate situation can become a teachable moment for all of us. ?DR