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Where has the sportsmanship gone?

October 13, 2011 - Seth Staskey
The Ohio High School Athletic Association and all all conferences within the state have been on a crusader over the last several years on sportsmanship. Unfortunately, the message doesn't seem to be resonating with the student-athletes.

In two separate incidents around the Buckeye State already this football season, it's become highly evident that the sportsmanship message is being thrown in the recycle bins and not being paid attention to.

Earlier this season in one of my weekly football columns, I told of a young man at Lake Ridge Academy, who was tragically killed while riding his bicycle home from practice one day. At that team's game that week, members of the opposing school's student body showed up to the game with shirts which read, "at least we can ride bicycles."

Obviously, that was taking a shot at the young man, who was struck by a vehicle. While his family, teammates and school were in mourning, these idiotic kids, who probably thought they were being funny, were making a mockery of the situation. Just totally ridiculous. I believe, from what I've read, that the school officials disciplined those schools and issued numerous apologies.

While that was totally classless and uncalled for, the incident, which occurred in Washington Court House was criminal. A Washington Court House player, who didn't play in the game two weeks ago, went through the line to shake hands with a tack in his palm and promptly stuck more than 20 players, causing them to get a tetanus shot. That is a version of assault. I don't know where or how you come up with an idea like that. Obviously, I don't believe coaches or the other players knew that was going on because certainly people, in their right minds, wouldn't allow that to go on.

Both of the aforementioned events drew coverage on national high school sports websites. The latter was even on ESPN.com. Obviously, it's a poor depiction of the schools and individuals, but it makes the entire state of Ohio look back. High school sports are part of this state's culture, but if it's gotten to the point where incidents like these are the ways we show support for our teams and classmates then everyone needs to take a MAJOR step back and re-evaluate their lives.

Hopefully, those individuals have shown remorse for their action and hopefully they've been disciplined, especially the young man at Court House, who deserves criminal charges. And as for the schools, hopefully, they sit down the rest of their student bodies and explain these incidents won't be tolerated. There's absolutely no place for those sorts of things in prep sports anywhere.

Keep sports in perspective, especially high school sports. Again, where has the sportsmanship gone? Or better yet, did it ever exist?

 
 

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