A little integrity

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” — H. H. Broun

Yesterday I attended a junior high basketball game at New Riegel School. New Riegel junior high girls were hosting Calvert junior high girls for regular season play. As the game proceeded, I witnessed again and again some very intentional physical assaults. These actions could be described as going far beyond the usual fouls or pushes one expects to witness in this sport at any level of play. During the fast-paced game I shook it off as part of what happens in this sport. However, as the 7th- and 8th-grade games ended and I went home for the evening, I continued to think of the extreme choices made by the Tiffin Calvert players, coaches and even a few fans. There should not be flagrant fouls, especially at this level. At no time should a player grab another player’s shirt, pull them to the floor, and then question why the official would make such a call. Coaches and fans that teach and encourage this behavior are doing a disservice to those they are responsible for. Even when you must foul to get a chance to have possession of the ball, there is an acceptable way to do so.

Why is this happening from a parochial school? Is this the expectation of Catholic education? I don’t think so, as I have witnessed positive sportsmanship when playing Sandusky St. Mary’s, OLC of Carey, Fostoria St. Wendelin, Fremont St. Joe and St. Michael of Findlay. So what happened here with Tiffin Calvert? In my opinion, it was a choice to simply play dirty. So who allows this to be an option … the coach? The player? The parent in the stands? It isn’t something to be proud of. It should be an embarrassment to your school community.

Calvert fans, team and coaches … own it and make a better choice. It is not about being tough or trying to hurt good players to take them out of the game so you can get a win. It really isn’t about winning and losing at this level. It’s about what you are teaching the players. It’s about learning sportsmanship and skill. It’s about ethics; it’s about doing the right thing. Even at the public school where I teach, we all work hard to instruct our young students to “do the right thing, even when no one is looking.” What are you really teaching with your actions?

Perhaps we should revisit the CYO Prayer or the Calvert School Mission Statement. Maybe even the Golden Rule … or two great commandments? As for me, I’ll stand proud on higher ground as I know my daughter chooses to play with skill and integrity. Calvert … you have the same choice.

Rebecca Wank,

New Riegel