As the winter sports seasons come to a close, I wanted to share that we are proud of the accomplishments of all of our teams–Wrestling, Boy’s Basketball, Girl’s Basketball and Dance. What we are most proud of is their growth. The fact that they worked very hard and improved as teams to the point at the end of the season, they were really putting a quality product on the mat or court.
That being said, I would like to focus my more detailed thoughts this week expressing my appreciation for how our student body has supported our teams. I feel they did a really good job of representing our school and striving to hold themselves to a high standard for sportsmanship.
What we want as a school from our student body, as they support our teams, is for the students to have a lot of fun, bring energy and exuberance, and show lots of school spirit. We want them to provide lots of support for our teams and have a lot of fun doing it. In the process, we do ask that they exercise this support within what we think are really important boundaries. We want our students to support our team, without demeaning our opponents or the officials. We want the student’s fun to be fully positive and not be at our opponents expense. And more specifically, we want them to be respectful and decent to our opponents and the officials.
The PA announcer in Whitefish Bay on Saturday night reminded the crowd, “We are competitors, not enemies,” and he asked that the crowd to make sure their actions reflected that distinction. I think our students have followed this advice rather well all year. They have been willing to accept these reasonable boundaries and they have supported their teams well. When we ask them not to use the “air ball cheer” to continually mock a specific athlete all game long, they have cooperated. When we ask them not to single out opponents and use their names to distract them from playing their best, they seem to understand. When we ask them not to do demeaning cheers such as the “scoreboard cheer” at the end of the game to point out the winning team, referees, and point at and mock the losing team, they have consistently made an effort to find positive ways to cheer and have fun.
If you are thinking I am offering a lot of praise for what many adults would consider expected sportsmanlike behavior, please understand that our students have to exercise a lot of restraint when these simple rules are very often violated by the opposing student section. Because our students have shown restraint, and shrived to be respectful to our opponents and the officials, while also having a lot of fun supporting their teams, I just wanted to express my appreciation to the student leaders, the student body in general, the band, and the adults who are working to teach and manage this sort of sportsmanship.
Thanks, and have a great Spring Break.