Archbold, OH

A Lesson In Bad Sportsmanship

Winning is great. It means an individual or team has met an opponent on the field of competition and come out on top.

Winning is exciting. It pumps up self-esteem. It is the reward for hard work and it’s good for school kids.

It’s certainly better than losing.

And in today’s culture, which is too often crass, it means you can rub your opponents’ noses in their failure, belittle them, embarrass them, and insult them.

Such a display of boorish rudeness was performed at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 9, when the Oklahoma quarterback, who had just defeated the Buckeyes, tried to plant his school flag at midfield. It was a tasteless display of bad sportsmanship. It should stand as an example of how not to celebrate a win.

Unfortunately, an Archbold High School student decided the same thing was needed after the football team won a tough football game at Wauseon, Friday, Sept. 15. Archbold students rushed the field and a male student planted the AHS flag at the center of Harmon Field.

While at the professional– and now the college– levels the idea of sportsmanship sometimes seems antiquated, it still has an important place, especially in middle and high school sports. Sportsmanship is an important life lesson, teaching not only how to lose with grace, but how to win with class. The display put on by one AHS student was classless.

School officials addressed the situation immediately, including the issuance of apologies to Wauseon officials for the student’s actions.

It’s right that the student should also be forced to apologize to Wauseon. His apology should extend beyond the football team, student body, and school district. He should apologize to the entire Wauseon community.

And he needs to apologize to Archbold, as well. His actions reflect poorly upon our community. It lessens us in the eyes of others. As Travis Cooper, WHS head coach, said, “The thing I’m most proud of our guys is when we win, we conduct ourselves with class, and so do our students. We didn’t go out on Archbold’s midfield and slam a flag on it, so that’s a horrible reflection on Archbold and their staff and their community.”

Defeat an opponent? Yes. It’s the point of the game.

But kick him into the dirt after winning? Not necessary. Not called for. Certainly not acceptable.

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