Every fan, whether a player, stat crew, manager, coach, scoreboard operator, announcer, referee, teacher, school staff member, parent, friend, neighbor and person from the local community or from an opponent has a great opportunity to make a positive impact on high school athletes.
This school year when going out to a high school sporting event, be cheerful with respect and dignity. Be a good sport. Be fair. Show great responsibility and a compassion for others. You see, win or lose is not most important. It's the journey that has such a great impact on these young people, whether they are from our local team or opponent's team, whether they are in first place or last place in the standings and whether they are on varsity or junior varsity or frosh soph or freshmen team.
You see, our actions can have a positive impact on these young people's journey, especially parents. The sooner parents learn to help their student on the student's journey the better. There is a wise saying that "only talk after the contest if your son or daughter brings it up." They know if they didn't do something right, they just made a mistake in front of hundreds or thousands of people. They need support and encouragement. Sometimes it's better to say it's a tough day, that's okay we're still proud of you and your team. Want to get an ice cream on way home?
Ever really listen to these students? They are amazing. Sometimes the adults get too caught up in the scoreboard results instead of the life journey result. One coach said the team played its best game of the year, lost by one against a superior team almost pulling off a major upset in overtime and while adults said that was an incredible game of emotions and too bad we lost, the coach said what he heard was astounding. "The players were complimenting their opponent for playing fair and with good sportsmanship and they appreciated that. Of course they also felt bad about almost pulling off a major upset in overtime, but they were a success in the game of life." The coach said both teams certainly played with a "give it your all attitude to win," and when one team didn't, both teams shook hands, said great game, and went on their way until next time as if they were both winners. That sounds like what high school sports can be, every time. So let's do our positive part for their life journey.
Here is a saying, "Treat people right and leave a great legacy, as that's more important than than any scoreboard."
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Here is a great message from Rob Wigod, commissioner of California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section which governs sports for 581 high schools in Southern California.
Wigod referred to the tragedies this summer in our nation and how young people learn and enhance their life values participating on a high school team. Here is part of his comments:
I offer to you that the vital work we do in educating the young people we are so fortunate to serve is a powerful beacon of hope, not only for today, but for tomorrow and beyond. I have always extolled the virtues of the high school athletic experience as our platform to teach so many valuable life's lessons to our student-athletes, but as we look for solutions to the issues that divide us, I believe that the high school athletic experience is also a shining example of how real progress can be made.
There is no better way of illustrating how we can all come together than by our young people participating on a high school sports team. In doing so, student-athletes from different races, religions, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic status pursue common goals that truly unite them in the effort toward achieving those goals. Relationships are forged, lifelong friendships are made, understanding of others is increased and these dynamics prove that it works.
As we leave summer behind and return to school, it is now time, more than ever, to dedicate ourselves to reinforcing the positive values that our young people learn by working with each other as high school student-athletes. Let what we do, and who we do it for, lead, inspire, motivate and give hope to those who are looking for our society to move forward.
Thank you very much for your help and support and good luck always.
Rob Wigod, Commissioner, CIF Southern Section
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May you keep enjoying sports, keep fit and cheer for your local sports teams.