In the news recently was a report that the Kentucky High School Athletic Association has begun to ban post-game handshaking between opposing teams, due to a series of after-game altercations.
Incidences of poor sportsmanship occur, and always have. They are isolated and rare, and always have been.
It is hard for me to accept that all teams, athletes, coaches, and schools should have to bend to the behavior of the most egregious actors. I've witnessed both good and bad demonstrations of sportsmanship over the years, but have seen far more of the former than the latter.
I am convinced, and have ample evidence to prove, that right-minded and right-hearted coaches have significant impact in teaching young athletes appropriate behavior - before, during, and after contests.
The tragedy in the Kentucky decision is that far more demonstrations of good sportsmanship will now be banned than will incidences of poor sportsmanship. It seems that a generalized penalty for a whole state full of athletes, coaches, schools, and communities has been applied for the sins of a very few.
In effect, the bad guys win again.
On this very topic, the football team of the school I serve was eliminated from the state football playoffs on Saturday afternoon. After a hard fought game, one team will move forward (Newcastle H.S.) and one team is assigned to "letting the air out of the ball" for another year (our own Guthrie Jaguars).
Here's the picture I took of that post-game encounter:
Same thing happens after every one of our football games.
I prefer that lesson for our children.