Last month I had the privilege to attend the 3rd Annual WIAA Sportsmanship Summit held in Stevens Point. I was accompanied by the Waukesha North Head Boys Basketball Coach Greg Polkowski, Waukesha North Head Football Coach Chris Freiman, and booster club Vice President Amy Kieffer. Two Waukesha North students also attended with our group.
The purpose of the event was to assist member schools in addressing citizenship and sportsmanship issues while developing plans to improve good sportsmanship. There were 67 school in attendance out of the 507 members. Waukesha North was the only Classic 8 member in attendance.
The opening keynote address was by Craig Hiller. He has written a book that I currently own called, Playing Beyond the Scoreboard. He talked a great deal about responsibility and how you break the word down to respond and ability. While doing so he expressed in great detail on how we need to create an atmosphere where people are not afraid to make mistakes but rather create great moments.
There were then a 5 break out sessions which we could choose three.
The first breakout I attended was that of Bill Collar. He discussed the Coach and Participant role in Sportsmanship. He stressed the fact that we should be doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. The participant must accept personal responsibility. Bill had a very dynamic old-school style about him.
The next break out was from Shane Been, a vice principal at Sauk Prairie. His discussion centered around expectations and embracing the ideals. He outlined 5 fundamentals of Sportsmanship:
- Know the rules of the contest
- Respect the officials
- Respect opponents and their fans
- Respect yourself and who you represent
- Respect the game
The third and final break out was from Dave Kelliher. He brought the officials perspective to the table. He stressed communication, communication, and communication. He also reminded the student/athletes and coaches that you never know who is watching you play. He referred to an article by Jay Bilas about toughness a couple of times. I looked it up and the link is here. It is worth the read.
The closing keynote speaker was Jay Wilson. He is a Madison sportscaster and does play by play for WIAA basketball and hockey for TV. The key take away from his speech was that being an athlete is a responsibility not a burden.
Overall it was a good day to learn more about sportsmanship and how it plays a day to day role in the lives of all of us in the sporting world. It needs constant attention and is not a once in a while thing.