Whatever happened to the emphasis on sportsmanship in high school sports?
The boys volleyball season is not even a week old and already I have been appalled by some of the antics I have witnessed on the court this season. Somewhere along the way, the word "sportsmanship" has been erased from the vernacular.
This is not an indictment of all teams. The majority seem to grasp the concept that you celebrate with restraint and with class. Most coaches would not tolerate the kind of behavior I witnessed. Most officials would not either (I hope).
Certainly, you would never see this kind of behavior in girls volleyball. As one coach who was equally stunned as I said afterward, "Girls care too much about each other to treat each other like that."
But when a teenager stands hands on hip staring across the net for an inordinate time after winning a point like some NBA "goon" staring into the camera after "posterizing" an opponent, when a team breaks into a coordinated celebration of a spike bouncing off the head of the opponent, when team members fall to their knees ala Brandi Chastain after winning the World Cup to celebrate just one point, the line of class and sportsmanship has been crossed.
This is the third year of the IHSA's "Do What's Right!" program. Maybe everybody did not get the memo. But here are the five expectations for IHSA schools, players and fans:
To represent their school and community well with positive interaction with opposing fans and players.
To use positive yells, chants, songs or gestures.
To display modesty in victory and graciousness in defeat.
To respect and acknowledge the integrity/judgment of officials.
To exhibit positive behavior with opponents and fans before, during and after the contest.
What I witnessed recently was neither modest nor positive. Frankly, it was embarrassing. Perhaps somebody needs that concept explained to them as well.