It's 2017 and with a new year it is another opportunity to emphasize sportsmanship, especially in youth sports from beginner youth to high school.
So what is your legacy and your team's legacy? Athletic students, coaches, school administrators and staff, parents, relatives, classmates, friends and local businesses who support local youth sports can do so with sportsmanship, respect and dignity for the home and visiting teams. There is a saying, your children may not listen to you sometimes although they always watch your actions.
So for one of our goals this year is it to be a good sport, realizing as one coach says the journey is more important than the scoreboard? Another thought is how we treat people is more important than the scoreboard. Either way, the students will get a better experience in their life's journey if they do compete their best and treat their opponent with sportsmanship, respect, dignity, integrity, etc.
Was at a game last season when some players on a team spoke to the scoreboard operator saying the opponents score was given to them instead of the opponent who scored...and it was a close game that either team could have won. Can't buy that integrity at the store.
California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIFSS) honored student Seanna Garewell of Banning High School at its Jim Staunton Champions for Character Annual Awards Banquet for such an action. The softball player's team was playing against their opponent, and she called time out standing on second base. Garewell showed being a caring person as she walked to the opponent's pitcher who was struggling while pitching for the first time in a game. Garewell encouraged the pitcher to keep making the effort and she will get better. The player, probably shocked an opponent gave her a pep talk, did finish the inning.
At the same banquet, a local team, Rosemead High School's girls frosh soph basketball team, became the first team to ever receive the award as a whole team. People were amazed a lower level (frosh soph) team got the award that is usually given to individual players, coaches, referees, reporters, volunteers or a school.
What did this 2015-16 Rosemead team do that earned them the award? Each year they have a Sportsmanship Day where coaches of both schools agree in advance to play all players, still making the effort to win, and then after the game both schools combine their food and eat lunch together.
Then, Rosemead started a Volunteer Day where both teams do something for other people expecting nothing in return. Last season in January 2015, after a girls game at Gladstone High School, both teams got together and with major donations by Oroweat Bakery in Rosemead and Target store in Rosemead, the teams combined to make 1,140 sandwiches for people in need. A great life lesson of compassion and volunteering to others for these young people.
This season, Rosemead will work with West Ranch High School to plant trees and bushes to replace some burned by a fire. A second Volunteer Day has been added to the schedule this season to combine with Sierra Vista High School to make 1,000 plus sandwiches for people in need.
It's easy to get caught up in winning is the top goal, and although we should always strive to do our best and succeed, that can happen in many ways, sometimes on the scoreboard, and sometimes during the journey. It's all of our responsibility to support any youth team with sportsmanship, respect, integrity, dignity and more.
Remember the youth are watching everyone's actions.