Playing with class

South athletes participate in a discussion about sportsmanship during a Positive Coaching Alliance Workshop. Photo courtesy of Chris Booth.

South athletes participate in a discussion about sportsmanship during a Positive Coaching Alliance Workshop. Photo courtesy of Chris Booth.

Brad Kemper '21, Staff Writer

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South offers many different sports programs such as football, volleyball, wrestling and even golf. Even though these sports may be very different in the way that they are played, one thing that all of these team sports share is the element of sportsmanship.

Teacher and assistant football coach Chad Hepner thinks that the level of sportsmanship and camaraderie a team exhibits directly affects how well a team plays.

“I think that the team that shows better sportsmanship is going to have more success in the long run. Playing the game, as it pertains to football and my perspective, the right way, is something that will carry on with how players execute every aspect of the game, not just their responsibility on the field, but also how they go about it,” Hepner said.

One of the main aspects that comes with sportsmanship is the life skill of a good work ethic and the ability to work with others civilly.

“Whether you win or lose, you do it with class. There’s a certain way that you can do that so that your community is proud of you, your team’s proud of you. And I think that’s an extension of what we do in life,” Athletic director Chris Booth said.

As an assistant coach for the football team, Chad Hepner tries to instill positive sportsmanship values in his players.

“I think one of the first things that we try to do as coaches is model sportsmanship and not getting overly bent out of shape about referees’ calls and treating the opposing coaches with respect and using proper language and interacting with each other and with players appropriately,” Hepner said.

Sportsmanship in games can involve many different examples and elements, such as in a situation like a blowout game.

“I think things as simple as maybe helping another player up who gets knocked down on the other team. I think that when it comes to one-sided victories, a team will kind of take the foot off the gas a little bit and put their backups in and not try to run up the score. I think that players do some good when they hand the ball to the official and go back and get excited with their players instead of waving their finger in the face of opponent,” Hepner said.

Girls varsity volleyball captain Shannon Kerr ’20 believes that sportsmanship isn’t just an important aspect of a team, it is truly an integral part of any team.

“I think that sportsmanship is a very important thing to all sports across the board,” Kerr said. “I think it’s just something that’s good for team morale for all the teams to have that. It’s just like knowing that each player has each other’s back, and that you’re going to support them no matter what. Whether that means like you’re on the bench or on the court, it’s just playing as a unit versus playing as individuals and I think sportsmanship is showing support for your teammates.”

Booth also thinks that positive sportsmanship can be seen through games in actions that are seen in things such as shaking hands and playing a clean game, and he also has advice for what to do if games get ‘chippy’.

“If games get chippy, you want to make sure that you talk to your coaches about certain expectations and you don’t want any late hits or you don’t want to hit anybody from behind. You just want to respect the opponent and play a clean game, respect the officials. Shaking hands after the game is just a sign of respect. And then compete as hard as you can. But you can do that with class at the same time and be neighborly,” Booth said.

Booth thinks that all that matters in the end is the amount of experience you gain from playing as a team.

“I think at the end of the day, we want a positive experience,” Booth said. “And that doesn’t mean everybody has to get along all the time. But what does a positive experience look like? Did you become a better person? And you probably became a better athlete, right? You got better at your sport, and hopefully you learned how to be a good teammate.”

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