Fans’ conduct can make or break the game

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman Journal Sports Columnist
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A little civility goes a long ways. Appropriate behavior at high school events can make for a more enjoyable evening for you, the fans sitting around you, and for your son or daughter. Following are four simple rules that are easy to remember and easy to follow: Let the players play Let the coaches coach Let the officials officiate Let the parents and fans be supportive Let the players play: The athletes participating in high school sports do so for the love of the game. There are no high-salaried stars on any team. There are no athletes playing for a new contract. There are no athletes looking to renegotiate his/her contract. Every single participant is, in the truest sense, a student-athlete. These athletes go to school; go to practice; play games; do homework; many hold down part-time jobs. Allow these athletes to enjoy every moment of their high school athletic experience. Be supportive of them after the game is over. Laud them for their positive efforts; don’t berate them for their mistakes. For many athletes, simply being on the team and feeling the ‘sense of belonging’ is enough. Let the coaches coach: It is natural to second guess a coach during a game. But leave it at that. Sitting in the stands and belittling the coaches’ decisions aloud for all to hear around you only makes you look foolish. Unless one has attended every practice, sat in on every coach’s session, and broke down film, one does not have all the information necessary to judge. How often has one heard in the stands, “The only reason my kid doesn’t play is because the coach doesn’t like him.” Coaches put the best players on the field or on the court after watching them in practice. Let the officials officiate: I am amused when I hear people in the stands constantly complaining about the officiating. Yes, on occasion, officials make mistakes. But, more often than not, officials make the correct call. My second thought when I hear someone in the stands continually whining about the officiating is, “Why aren’t you watching the game instead of the officials? There are five officials at a high school football game, and you go to a game to critique the officiating?” Because, if one is not watching the officials on every play, how does one know the official made a bad call? Do you really want to go to a game to watch how well the line judge officiates? Lastly, those who consistently complain about the calls, lose credibility from those sitting around you. Be supportive fans: Cheer for your team… even when momentum favors the other team. Cheer for your team to do well. Don’t root for the other team to do poorly. There is a huge difference rooting for your team to succeed as compared to rooting for the other team to fail. Imagine if your son or daughter was playing, and you heard the parents from the other team rooting for your off-spring to fail. To say the least, it would not sit well. Whether your team wins or loses, the sun will rise the next day. Athletes will move on from a loss much quicker than most parents do. Don’t embarrass them with inappropriate behavior. These four simple rules will make for a more pleasant evening for everyone.