By Mike Ullery
we approach this second to the last weekend of the regular football
season for this year, I pause to reflect on what we have seen thus far.
of the things that I have learned, or maybe re-learned, is that not all
fans “get it.” We used to see this only during the games, or maybe at
the local coffee shop following the game. “Armchair quarterbacks” are
full of what should have been. Win or lose, they have all the answers to
a perfect season — the day after the contest.
Some of them sit in
the stands during a game. They loudly proclaim to everyone within
shouting distance how the play should have been run. They will complain
about the officials. They will rail on the coaching staff. Sometimes,
you will hear them chastise the performance or talent of a player.
to the start of any Ohio High School Athletic Association contest, a
narrative is read to those in attendance. It proclaims, among other
things, that this is a contest between kids and that sporting behavior
I sometimes wonder what part of that can possibly be misunderstood.
Add to that the fact that the action on the field/court is a game.
That’s right a game. Don’t get me wrong. I am as competitive as the
next person. Many who know me might think that I am too competitive. I
firmly believe that there is no such thing as a second place winner.
believe just as firmly that there is proper behavior expected by both
the winner and the loser of a contest. Winners should never gloat.
Losers should hold their head up and never display poor sportsmanship.
It is okay to be sad or angry with losing. Anger should be directed at
yourself. It is not the fault of your opponent that you did not win. It
is your fault for not being good enough, at least on that particular
night, to win.
That should not be taken out on friends, family or
your opponent. What should be done is to examine what needs to be done
to improve enough to not let it happen again.
This is a lot of
pressure to put on college or professional athletes. That same sort of
pressure is put onto our high school athletes these days, and
unfortunately, also put upon many younger athletes as well. The pressure
to win has long overshadowed the need for proper sportsmanship. That is
Parents and fans must be vigilant to set a proper example
for their athletes. These are kids. If you are a parent, you most
certainly do not want other parents or fans yelling at your kid that
he/she is less than proficient at his/her chosen sport. First of all,
stuff happens. Sometimes our kids go brain dead for a moment and get
beaten. Sometimes they face an opponent that is just flat out a better
No matter what, parents and fans should be there to
support our athletes. Win or lose, these are still our kids.
If an NFL
player who is paid a million dollars a season can’t be expected to catch
every pass or make a first down each time his number is called, then
why do we seem to think that our kids should be able to pull it off?
It’s a game. And if every play was a sure thing, all the fun would be
Players and their respective schools and sports need
all the support they can get. It is great to see a large turnout for a
game. But for those few who seem to think that part of the fun is riding
the athletes backsides, just stay home. The same goes for those who
lurk on social media sites to second guess our kids.
As a fan or a parent, you need to leave the coaching to the coaches.
as my mom used to say , “If you can’t say something nice about someone,
don’t say anything.” The longer I live, the better her advice sounds,
and in more situations.