Sideline soliloguy

While winning is important, sportsmanship should be goal

Ok, so you want to yell at an official. Go for it. But before you do, consider a few things.

They are helping your son or daughter play interscholastic sports. There is a shortage of officials state-wide and nation-wide and if there is no officials, there are no games.

There is a right way and a wrong way to express displeasure with a call. In baseball, you can say, “That was a good pitch” instead of saying, “What are you looking at, ump?”

Don’t make it personal. Dont tell the official he is no good. Say that was a bad call.

Don’t swear. Granted, there is foul language in sports, but there shouldn’t be at the high school level. Swearing is a red flag and most likely will be dealt with quickly and harshly.

Beep but don’t lay on the horn. In other words, make your complaint and be done. Disagreeing with a close play is spontaneous. Believe me, if it’s a close play, the official also realizes that. We expect some sort of quick response. Constant complaining or questioning annoys officials and fans around you. Pick your battles on when to complain and make it short and sweet.

Set an example. Do you really want your child to believe they played their absolute best but the official didn’t try his hardest?

Know that life isn’t fair. Sports are a perfect example of that. When there is a close play and a ruling has been made, move on. Learn from it. Play better because of it.

There is a sportmanship code that is read before every high school game but it doesn’t seem to get through to everyone.

It is similiar to this. “Good sportsmanship is valued by the such and such Community Schools. We are pleased you chose to support your team this evening. Please do so by refraining from negative yells or comments directed at athletes, coaches, fans, and officials or other negative acts. Community Schools encourages positive sportsmanship and behavior at its games. Please encourage your athletes and coaches with positive comments and acts. What you do and say during the contest reflects on your team, school and community. Enjoy the meet by being a good sport. Community Schools supports the Conduct Counts programs initiated by our state associations. Good sportsmanship is a priority at high school events. Negative comments and acts directed toward athletes, coaches, fans, or officials are unacceptable in this educational environment. Be a good sport for your school and community. Community Schools reminds you that you are in a Good Sportsmanship Zone. No negative chants, yells, comments or acts directed at athletes, coaches, fans or officials are tolerated. They are a basis for removal. Conduct does Count. Do not embarrass your team, school and community by behaving in a negative manner. The Iowa High School Athletic Association urges your cooperation in making this game a memorable experience for your players and coaches. Don’t confuse supporting your team with negative cheers directed at the opponent or booing the decisions of the officials. Those actions cause your team and school to be seen in a negative light. The athletes competing in this contest have trained many hours. They have earned your respect and applause. Your positive behavior will earn their respect for you. Conduct Counts in Iowa and its starts with you. Enjoy today’s game.”

I would suggest that the state add one thing.

“Anyone who disagrees with any calls obnoxiously enough to be an embarassment to a team, school or community, please pick up a form to apply to be an official and fill it out before you leave tonight.”

If fans can see better than an official who is on the field of play, they are missing their calling in life.

If you can see that well from the stands, go get your license to be an official if you think you can do it so much better. Go get your license and get paid for your opinion. Go get certified and show the world how great you are when you’re in the middle of a highly competitive game.

According to Iowa High School Athletic Association data, Iowa had 1,493 registered boys’ basketball officials in 2006-07. Ten years later, in 2016-17, that number had dwindled to 963. About 45 percent of those still officiating games were 50 or older.

Having the worst official ever at your kids’ games is better than not having any game.

High School sports is about preparing kids for the world, for life, for a career. Things won’t always seem fair. Reacting in a negative way is not the answer.