Advocate Editorial Board opinion: It's time to practice our sportsmanship

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Aug. 29, 2013 at 3:29 a.m.

For football fans, Friday night lights start in earnest tonight when the state's high school football teams begin their battles on the gridiron.

The frenzy starts and won't end until November - or, for some lucky teams, December.

Of course, there's more than just football for prep sports enthusiasts. Volleyball players have been spiking and digging balls for weeks now, and tennis and cross country also fill out the fall sports schedules.

We know these student-athletes have already put in hundreds of hours of hard work in the blistering Texas summer heat. We understand rivalries, fanatics and the need to see your team win.

We urge everyone, though, to remember and practice sportsmanship.

"One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it," former coaching great Knute Rockne once said.

The University Interscholastic League, the organization that oversees Texas High School sports, publishes a guide for athletes, fans and parents. It's called Character, Attitude, Responsibility, Ethics. One the tenants of CARE is sportsmanship.

According to the CARE guide, UIL even suggests schools promote sportsmanship by announcing this before games: "Good sportsmanship is one of the primary purposes of educational athletics. Our student-athletes recognize that judgment calls - by officials, coaches and themselves - are made in good faith and should be respected. Spectators can support both of these teams by refraining from derogatory or demeaning comments and cheers today. We hope that you will enjoy the game and support the students in a positive and sportsmanlike manner."

As the great Rockne said, if we practice sportsmanship, it's better than teaching (or preaching) it.

Now, to all the teams and athletes leaving their hearts out on the playing fields this year, we say: Good luck!

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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