Letter to Parents/Adult Spectators about Sportsmanship at WIAA Tournament Play

Dear Parents and Adult Spectators,

As we prepare for the upcoming WIAA state tournament series, it is an appropriate time to review the goals of our program as they relate to sportsmanship.  As educational institutions, the schools of the Badger Conference are committed to teaching our young people to set goals, strive for excellence and to properly handle whatever adversity they encounter along the way.  This aim is the same in the classroom as it is on the playing field.

The greatest challenge to good sportsmanship is adversity.  When things are not going well, the easy response is to shift attention away from our team to others. In particular, shifting attention away from our team to the opponents and all too often to the officials.  When this is done, the focus is away from the positive “to play harder or better,” to the negative “how can we possibly overcome the bad calls.”  As administrators and coaches we feel it is essential that our student-athletes maintain a positive approach to handling adversity.  We need the support of our parents as role models if we are to accomplish this.

At times this year some parents may have become quite vocal at games and loudly criticized both game officials and opposing players.  This type of abusive behavior is counter-productive to what we are trying to teach.  In addition, it creates a very uncomfortable environment for the fans that have come out to support their team and wish to enjoy the game.  Finally, it is an embarrassment to our schools and to the young people on the playing field.  We are asking all our fans to keep comments positive and upbeat.

During the tournaments, the WIAA hires the game officials.  All of the officials are deemed competent by WIAA and athletic administration.  They are not perfect, and their interpretation of the action may be different from yours.  However, they are an essential part of the game, and they are doing the best they can.  Let’s strive to pay less attention to their performance and more to the superb skills of our young athletes.  Let’s come out in the next few weeks and cheer on our teams to success in the tournament.

Baraboo (Glenn Bildsten & Jim Langkamp) DeForest (Machell Schwartz & Mike McHugh) Edgewood (Bob Growney & Chris Zwettler) Fort Atkinson (Dan Halvorsen & Josh Boyer) Milton (Jeremy Bilhorn & Brian Hammil) Monona Grove (Paul Brost & Jeff Schreiner) Monroe (Chris Medenwalt & Dave Hirsbrunner) Mount Horeb (Stephanie Spoehr & Mike Beranek) Oregon ( Mike Carr) Portage (Robin Kvalo & Tim Haak) Reedsburg (Rob Taylor & Bryan Yager) Sauk Prairie (Chad Harnisch & Aaron Braund) Stoughton (Mike Krause & Mel Dow) Waunakee (Brian Kersten & Brian Smith)

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