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Sportsmanship: Lead by example

Date posted - October 28, 2013

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Orab football team on a great game Friday nite. I know it was a tough season, but above all, I saw the players exhibit great sportsmanship no matter what the outcome of the game was. Thank you for that.


I would also like to add that I have never been more disappointed in a crowd of Orabs than I was Friday night. When people go to a football game, or any other athletic event, I always thought it was to cheer and try to provide encouragement to the players on the field. Heckling the coaches and the players was not part of that deal. I heard people yelling at the coaches and telling them what to do, I heard people singling out players and yelling at the coach to pull them out, at one point I even heard someone, that for the sake of getting this article printed will remain nameless, scream at the players “Do you guys even want to win?”


I would like to know how we as parents and adults can expect our kids to be respectful and play the game with sportsmanship when we have stuff like this being done by adults. Granted, there were only 2 voices I heard, but as we all know, the actions of few label the many. I would ask as a person that works with younger children in athletics, please show up at the event with a positive attitude, and always, let the players play, let the coaches coach, let the officials officiate and let the crowd enjoy the sport!


Eric Koerselman

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27 Responses to “Sportsmanship: Lead by example”

  1. jd says:

    I agree I have been to a couple of orab games some of the fans including parents of the players are awful I saw one parent video taping the game and them comment that when her son got home he would get a talking to because he was not doing well. what kind of example is THAT high school sports are suppose be fun, and give the athlete experience in sportsmanship win or lose.lets get these poor sports out of the stands.

    • Lee Ann says:

      I can remember high school basketball games in another state, where the boys played fairly decent the first half. Then the coach would get them in the locker room and just rake them over the coals. then they would play a horrible “do nothing” second half. IMO you cannot play well if you aren’t having fun too. professional sports are different, its a business. But high schoolers should be having fun too.

  2. Free Ride says:

    Compete fiercely, lose graciously but above all show good sportsmanship

  3. Disappointed says:

    It made me feel embarrassed to be a Sheldon Orab that night… When one of the coaches parents says under his breath to the people talking about the coaching staff it is terrible. Some seasons are not as we all hoped for but we need to realize that those players are putting their hearts and souls in that game each and every night. The coaching staff has done a great job to bring this program where it is today. There is no reason that the fans from the same team are mad at each other. It is great to win but winning is not everything. You can get so much more out of sports, but we wonder why kids are such poor sports now a days just look at the adults that are setting this poor example for them. Lets encourage our boys to get in the weight room, doing agility workouts, and prepare for next season. Its always a GREAT DAY TO BE AN ORAB, lets show it by being supportive and encouraging to the athletes and coaches!! By the way, Go support that Sheldon VB as they start playoffs tonight!

  4. Grandma says:

    I had kids play major sports in grade school and high school. I learned from experience to let the coaches coach, players play and enjoy the game, no matter the outcome. It is only a game, where one has to win and one has to lose. It teaches them to get over the bigger hurdles that may come their way in life.

  5. Another Dad says:

    100% agree Eric! It’s a sad statement when you try to find a seat at the game and you have to look to make sure who you are NOT sitting by. Each and every one of those boys is giving 100%–they are not trying to fumble the ball, drop a pass, miss a tackle, or jump offsides. I give this year’s team and coaches credit–they did not quit and they finished the season last Friday like champions–like Orabs! I think I remember at a sport parent meeting a couple of years ago the head coach made a comment about supporting the team in a positive manner, with the addendum that if you heard someone knucklehead “being negative” in the stands that you should feel free to tell them to “be quiet”. Hopefully the knuckleheads will just stay home for the next game and the positive, supportive parents will show up!

  6. Old wrestler says:

    I will agree there needs to be a correct way in talking to the kids and coaches. There is no need to belittle either of them. I will ask though if I film one of my kids during a game and go over the film with them because there are thing that they need to work on how is that a bad thing? I think that while yes there are parents who go to far with the antics and the actions at the game there are also plenty of parents who aren’t willing to do anything at all to help better their kids. Be it take them to a camp or maybe just talk to them about things that they need to work on. Just because a parent wants to talk to their child about a game doesn’t make them a bad sport or mean that they are going to be critical sometimes it just means constructively working with their child to help them improve. It would be no different then discussing a poor test score or a poor grade in a class.

    • Judy says:

      I think there’s a big difference between helping your student study vs. going over a game tape. Education is the LAW; sports isn’t. It’s supposed to be fun. I can’t think of anything my kids would want to do less than sit down with their dad to go over film footage and listen to him pontificate about what should have been done differently. The others said it best when they said to let the coaches do the coaching. The only noise from the stands should be encouragement. May we please get a grip and a modicum of perspective? This is high school sports. They’re just kids out there. Win or lose, the sun will rise, the world will turn. Eric’s right – set a good example.

      • Old wrestler says:

        There is no more law on education then there is on sports. Kids can drop out of high school if they choose to. So you preaching to your kids on grades or on band and choir is ok but going over game tape isn’t? By your reasoning let the teachers teach and just stay out of the helping with homework then or stay out of the telling your kids how to do better in band or choir. There is a difference between talking to your kids and preaching, sounds like your husband can’t figure out the difference if the kids don’t want to listen to him on things.

        • Judy says:

          I think you missed the point. I don’t go to school and tape the events of the day and then replay them at home. I don’t second guess the teacher or put my own spin on it. And by the way, I never said my husband preaches to our kids. I was using it as an example. And, ever hear of truancy? It is against the law. Not participating in a sport is not. Unfortunately, there are too many parents trying to relive their glory days vicariously through their kids. Sorry, but those days are over. Let them have their own glory days.

          • thequietone says:

            I see a couple of things here in this exchange I would like to comment on.

            1) Truancy may be illegal but only if you are enrolled in school I believe that the other poster may have been trying to point this fact out that if a student drops out of school they are not able to be listed as truant. Granted there are laws of when a student can legally drop out of school.

            2) Why is it only sports that are being questioned here? There are parents in band that are overly pushy, choir, church, even yes in grades some parents get over the top with pushing.

            3) why is it immediately decided that if a parent talks to their kids they are trying to undermine a teacher or coach? I can remember my parents talking to me about basketball games and things I might have done wrong and at no time did my dad ever try to undermine a coach. I would say much like in school if a parent is willing to work with a kid in sports these days your not going to have a good team in the school.

            4) You can question a coach and still show good sportsmanship about it. I would say that we have some very good coaches here in Sheldon and to think they have never questioned an official on something is just foolish it’s how it is done. Everyone needs to remember that just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they aren’t a good person or that they are a bad sport.

            5) Society as a whole has gotten way to whiney on things when it’s not what we want to hear. People need to toughen up again.

          • Todd says:

            I think we have people arguing about 2 different situations. One is talking about giving advice to a child looking for help and opportunity to improve and the other is talking about overbearing parents jamming opinions down a kid’s throat. As someone who has coached 3 different youth sports I have seen boths scenarios. There is NOTHING wrong with a parent looking at game film with their child if the child want to improve. My children will frequently ask me to look at film, help them with form or technique, ask my opinion about how to improve, etc. They are requesting this. This is different than the parent the drags their kid to the gym or film session and rips apart every little thing they do. It is two different situations and two different arguments.

  7. HappyTimes says:

    I’ve been an official for over 40 years. Never did I kick out a player. Never did I kick out a parent. Only once had to have a coach leave the gym. Yes, it seems that in about every game, there was one parent that got excited. My wife says that I have the look of death when I gave the look to that parent. But you know what, in all those years at the pregame conference, I told the kids that the most important skill they needed was to have Fun. All in All, the sportsmanship in NW Iowa is pretty good.

    • An Idea says:

      No matter what it is you are doing, from learning in school to playing in sports, if you are not having fun its not a good experience.

      • Say what? says:

        Not true. Not every good experience needs to be “fun”. That’s part of the problem with the younger generation, everything needs to be “fun”. Part of the Big Picture problem in today’s America: if it isn’t fun, I don’t want to do it. Please come back to reality.

        • jd says:

          no not everything should be fun but sports should be . these are high school kids there is enough pressure on them in the classroom let them have their fun win or lose. those are lessons we all learn. coaching from the stands is unnecessary pressure

        • Todd says:

          Maybe not every aspect of the particular sport is fun, but the overall experience should be fun. It is an extra-curricular activity. Example: Lifting weights year-round for football is hard work and time-consuming and may not always be “fun” but you are working towards a goal of improvement. The activity of playing the game and being part of the team should be fun. Getting up and running several miles as part of the cross-country team may not always be “fun” but the overall experience should be. The overall experience is often dictated by attitude of coaches, fellow participants, and fans. It is pretty easy for coaches or fans or teammates with bad attitudes to suck the fun out of sports, and that shouldn’t happen.

  8. Orab Parent says:

    Honestly this does not surprise me at all………. We saw this coming years back…….. I put a lot of blame on the parents of kids who think their sons are the star of a sport. And when there’s a loss it’s always blamed on others (coaches or players) People need to quit putting their kids on a pedestal and coddling them and instead teach them to play as a team instead of placing blame somewhere else when things aren’t going good.

    • LISA says:

      I agree, I noticed this when these same kids were playing Little Orab Football.

      • Empty nester says:

        All I will say is enjoy your kids while they are at home because in this fast paced world they are gone before you know it. I sure would hate for high school sports to impact whether your kids keep in contact with you after they move on in life. Yes I agree sports should be fun and it should also be hard work. I believe all those kids on the field who some claimed “don’t want it”. They really wanted to win more for the fans than for themselves. I sat in front of some of those parents at the CL game and I almost left. If my wife wouldn’t have held my leg down I would have left the game. I was so embarrassed not of the kids or the score of the game. I was embarrassed for the parents and their lack of support/faith they have in their son or his friends. I’ve seen our coaches, big strong guys, in tears over the success of our Orabs. Not just from action on the court or field. They really care and I for one have their back any time, any place, no matter the score. Do you?

  9. Harriet Oleson says:

    We in Walnut Grove believe that youth sports are actually the root of all evil – including MYFL, youth basketball, youth volleyball, youth wrestling, etc. The pecking order gets firmly established – the “stars” are picked out, the average to below average pick up on the favoritism and many give up prematurely. The parents get overly involved in coaching and “backstabbing” others. Many of our problems would be solved if all would wait until 7th grade to participate and let the school maintain the programs – even if some skills were not as highly developed as they might be for a select few.

    • Old wrestler says:

      If Walnut grove is so great go back there and stay there.

    • Todd says:

      I love your posts Harriet but afraid I have to disagree with this one. If you waited until 7th grade people would still complain about “stars” and “pecking order” and you would still have “overly involved” “backstabbing” parents, just at a later date. Contrary to popular belief “stars” are seldom “picked out”. They emerge because they have superior athleticism or a stronger desire to play the sport leading to more time spent developing skill sets that allow success in that sport. For example, I recently had a parent say their kid doesn’t get to play as much on their 6th grade basketball team and that is why they aren’t as developed as some other kids. But, when asked how often her son shoots in the drive-way or goes to the rec to play, the answer was seldom to never. Well, you don’t develop basketball skills during games. You develop skills on your own and get experience during games. Now, i do believe ALL children on the team should get a chance to play in games, but it is not anyones fault that her son is not the “star”, he simply does not have passion for the game. And there is nothing wrong with not having passion for the game, as long as you aren’t blaming everyone else for lack of ability or playing time. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from sports: learning to be coachable and how to accept instruction, how to work with others as a team, learning how to win and lose, self-discipline, working towards individual and team goals, dealing with adversity, etc. All of these things if learned properly can apply to life as an adult. The problem isn’t the sports or the age they begin. The problem is the coaches and parents that lose all perspective on what is trying to be achieved and begin only to focus on the outcome of winning at all costs. Look at the original post, the problem wasn’t the game of football. The problem was the fans in the stands losing all perspective and acting inappropriately.

  10. Harriet Oleson says:

    Why now, now Old Wrestler…. you sound like Nels when I strike a nerve with him when he knows old Harriet is right!!!

    • Old wrestler says:

      I don’t think you’re right. My guess is your one of those people who thinks everyone should get a medal because it’s not fair to the ones who don’t. I mean based on you and your not having sports till we get older you should agree with this too. Let’s get rid class rankings because jeeze my kid isn’t at the top and it might hurt their feelings to not be the top person. Better yet lets just let everyone have a job that pays a ton of money too because why would we want someone to feel like they don’t deserve a job like the person who got the job? Guess what life isn’t fair, you don’t always win, there isn’t always a happy ending sometimes the bad guys win, the cops don’t always get there to save the day. Sooner or later you have to learn that problem is parents who are afraid to let their kids get their feelings hurt are just as big a problem as the ones who are over the top with pushing their kids because when those kids who never see that they might lose get older they just expect to get to get the same as everyone else gets and when they don’t they throw a fit and act like babies.

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