Last Modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:24 PM
It’s time to tee it up in Southwest Louisiana as high school football teams take to the field for the first full-fledged Friday night under the lights.
For many sports fans, this is the season they long for. So, too, for coaches and players, the latter group which has labored in weight rooms since the close of last season and endured spring drills and the heat and humidity of organized practice this month.
Now those players hope to reap the fruits of that hard work.
Football remains king among team sports throughout Louisiana and the South. On the high school level, it can be the rallying point for school pride. As such, it can sometimes be blown out of proportion.
But the football field, just like the basketball, volleyball and tennis court, the baseball field and the track, can be a wonderful laboratory where students learn such admirable traits as preparation, tenacity, discipline, sacrifice and teamwork.
Athletics can also be a classroom where sportsmanship, a learned behavior if there ever was one, should be planted and cultivated.
Those lessons start with the coaching staff stressing to players to compete with maximum effort, but within the rules, and to respect opponents’ players and coaches and game officials, and meting out punishment for players’ whose play and/or behavior on the field or on the sidelines dishonors their school, teammates, opponents and referees.
That code of civility should also be embraced by parents, other family members, fans and students.
Good sportsmanship doesn’t end when game time expires. The victors should be magnanimous no matter how satisfying their conquest, the vanquished should be respectful of the game’s outcome no matter how disappointing.
Again, this is not limited to the customary handshakes on the field. This spirit should also prevail in the stands.
And it should be endorsed by cheerleaders, pep squads and band members as well.
Fortunately, incidents of poor sportsmanship at football games in Southwest Louisiana have been rare.
Let’s keep it that way.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.