Restoring one’s reputation is never easy. You can spend weeks, months even years establishing a reputation of character, and lose it all in a moment with one bad decision. This applies to us all regardless if we are an athlete, a coach, a parent or an athletic director.
High School athletics is an emotional process for all involved. The community, the players, the coaches, the parents and the school corporation have invested much in the process. High School athletics, fairly or unfairly, serve as a “curb appeal” gauge of the school’s success. When people see that a school has a quality athletic program and well-kept athletic grounds and facilities …. they often assume the school must be doing well in all aspects of their mission.
This past Friday was a date that hundreds of high school football teams took the field all over the United States. Some games provided a difficult challenges for both teams, some were blowouts, some had great sportsmanship displayed by both schools … and some ended like the Indianapolis Tech vs. Fort Wayne South game ended.
A play that started with a late hit out of bounds by a Ft. Wayne South player, turned in to a mêlée with players and coaches throwing punches and fans storming out on the field to join the fight. Eventually the school administrators and the IHSAA officials decided to end the contest at that point without finishing the game.
What happened? Tech HS Head Coach, Emil Ekiyor said, “We simply cannot let things like this happen. We have spent years building a football program that can be respected and in three minutes we lost it all.”
It is a reminder to all of us that we must keep our emotions from spilling over regardless if we are upset by a coach’s decision, a player’s effort or execution or an official’s call. None of these things will matter for the long haul, but how we react to them can damage our reputation forever.
Self-control and empathy for others are two of the most important character traits that we can help teach our kids, but it will take all of our combined best efforts to impact their personal growth. This is an issue that we must model and “walk the talk” … we cannot expect self-discipline out of our kids, if we cannot display it when we are under the pressure of a high school athletic contest.
Good sportsmanship is always a great idea and makes a difference … one child at a time.