Our Opinion: Model good sportsmanship – on the field and off

Parents can learn a lot from their children.

A valuable lesson of youth sports is sportsmanship – for parents as well as youngsters.

Children participate in sports because it’s fun. That enjoyment is accompanied by numerous ancillary benefits, including lessons in teamwork, commitment, dependability and graciousness in both victory and defeat.

Studies show students involved in youth sports enjoy higher graduation rates, develop positive leadership skills and become responsible adults.

Coaches, officials and most parents in our community emphasize these aspects of youth competitions.

Most sports are competitions; the ultimate objective is to win.

But fans know from experience that any number of variables can affect the outcome. Players, make errors; coaches make wrong decisions; officials make bad calls.

It’s all part of being human and part of the learning experience.

Mike Vogel, longtime youth sports official, points out: “We’re amateurs, not pros. When you … make a bad call, lets coaches or parents know you made a mistake.”

Players and coaches also are amateurs, not pros.

Fans and parents in our community generally embrace that concept and model good sportsmanship.

On those occasions when parents exhibit poor sportsmanship, YMCA Sports Director Chris Barton explains: “Once you show them they’re hurting kids by what they’re doing, the conflict ends pretty quick.”

And Chad Horton, a parent and coach, added: “They vast majority of parents are extremely level-headed and supportive of coaches and players.”

We commend those parents who lead by example. The virtues of good sportsmanship are applicable in all arenas of life.

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