SPORTSMANSHIP AND FAN BEHAVIOR
In last week’s paper, I shared the information about the sportsmanship awards presented by the Central Lakes Conference to the Girls Tennis team and the ROCORI Football team. The recognition is a reflection of the high expectations held for team and fan behaviors throughout the season. We are proud of these teams, in particular, but any team that is awarded the sportsmanship honor through the CLC.
As we approach the winter activity season, I would like to spend a little time on the topic of sportsmanship. Our goal, much like that of other schools, is to promote a positive environment for our activities!
At a recent conference meeting, there was some discussion regarding the issue of sportsmanship. The conference, as a whole, places a strong emphasis on promoting and developing positive team, fan and booster behaviors.
Sportsmanship is encouraged through a variety of activities in the CLC. Leadership training with students and coaches offers great opportunities to not only hear about but to demonstrate good sportsmanship. The conference has set standards and expectations for teams participating in conference events. Sportsmanship standards are encouraged to be publicized, distributed and read at activities and events throughout the conference as reminders of the expectations.
The activities directors of the conference are working on an additional, yet different, way of recognizing sportsmanship as well. Not only does the conference want to identify a particular team that demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship (as we currently do), but the conference is working on a set of standards by which any team could be recognized at a gold or silver level of expectations.
FAN BEHAVIOR POLICY
As a district, we also have an activities behavior policy in place! We want to encourage and promote good sportsmanship across the district for all students, fans and supporters of ROCORI activities. Our policy is not very complicated nor is it very difficult to follow! It simply outlines expectations for positive behaviors for everyone involved in an activity at ROCORI. The entire policy follows:
BEHAVIOR AT SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
The Board of Education recognizes the significant value of school activities to the participants, to the entire student body, and to the community.
- The behavior of all Rocori students, staff, and spectators is expected to be a positive reflection of themselves, their school, and their community.
- The standards of courtesy, fair play and good sportsmanship should be evident at all times.
- Audiences should treat performers and speakers with respect and courtesy and shall refrain from inappropriate noise or any activity that might distract from the performance or presentation.
- Teams, officials, coaches and participants should be treated with respect by spectators, coaches, and players alike.
- Spectators, participants, and coaches should accept and respect the decisions made by officials.
- Spectators, participants, and coaches are expected to support the activity enthusiastically but refrain from disparaging remarks, put-downs, yells, signs, booing, or any other action that would be demeaning, disrespectful, or discouraging.
- All other school policies or MSHSL rules apply when at school activities and when on school property.
Violations of this policy may result in removal from the event and/or future events. This policy applies to anyone attending a Rocori activity or event.
The Minnesota State High School League encourages the promotion of positive behaviors and good sportsmanship at events. We often take a little bit of time at the start of an event to share some words about good sportsmanship. Sometimes, we have asked athletes to read a statement or make comments about positive behaviors as well. Although it may take a few extra moments, we think the reminders of good sportsmanship are worth the investment of time.
Often, the activity program will also make reference to sportsmanship standards, expectations of good behavior or fair play, or other positive statements. Again, the continual reminder that we are dealing with young, student competitors in any of our events is good to keep in mind!
Our Activities Director, Joel Baumgarten, has been making a point of including sportsmanship issues within his presentations to students and parents as we begin each activity and season. The district policy along with other resources and references help to reinforce the idea that we have expectations to create a positive environment for our students and activities. These ideas are reinforced by the coaches during the course of the season!
Our policy is one point of emphasis of good sportsmanship. Other efforts certainly help to reinforce the idea of positive sportsmanship and good fan behaviors.
If you have followed the news, however, you are certainly aware of issues of concern (not only in Minnesota but in other states as well) of team and fan behavior that has crossed the line. Again, we want to support and model good sportsmanship for all of our activities and programs.
Thank you for the efforts that have allowed two programs to earn positive recognition this fall! We want to continue that positive approach throughout the winter activities season as well!