What should our expectations be?
February means tournament time for many high school sporting events in North Dakota.
Girls basketball district tournaments wrap up today, Feb. 13 and soon regional tournaments will be held. The boys basketball postseason tournaments are just around the corner as is the state wrestling tournament.
The stakes are high, and teams and individuals set their sights on reaching their goals.
In the frenzy of tournament time, let’s keep in mind that these are high school activities. And let’s remember that exhibiting good sportsmanship on the field of play and in the stands is essential to providing a positive atmosphere.
As much as we want only the best fortunes for our local teams and athletes, the reality is that there can only be one winner on the scoreboard.
So what should our expectations be when we attend these tournaments?
Should we demand nothing less than perfection from players, coaches and officials? Is it only about winning?
If we desire these high expectations we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment and getting upset over something that isn’t worth getting all that upset about.
True, it’s more pleasant to be on the winning side, but we should also understand that lessons learned in a defeat often can be more valuable.
First, we need to remember these are high school-aged athletes. These teens are still developing their skills and are going to make mistakes, especially in the heat of a pressure-filled game.
Two, the officials are not there to “do in” another team, and very rarely do their errors in decisions or judgments have an affect on the outcome of the game. They, like the players, are trying to do the best they can.
Three, we should be mindful that these games pose a learning opportunity for the athletes, illustrating what can be accomplished through teamwork, acquired skills and preparation.
And finally, we should recognize that our role in the stands is to be supporters. We should appreciate when hard work is displayed by both teams, not condone negative comments and unruly behavior in the stands.
And above all else, recognize that the opportunity for our athletes to compete is most important.
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