“Know Your Role” is one of the most important concepts promoted on this forum and in the Sportsmanship Initiative as a whole. If coaches coach, fans cheer, athletes play and officials call the game, everyone will enjoy the game more. That’s true most of the time. Problems usually occur when fans try to coach, athletes try to officiate, etc.
As we all know, there is an exception to every rule. Such was the case Saturday afternoon as the Sportsmanship Brigade attended its first youth football game of the season. Herbert Hoover took on University City in a 9-Unlimited (4th grade) JFL contest. The Herbert Hoover squad is big, strong, and very physical. They overwhelmed the University City team – jumping out to a 35-0 halftime lead.
The Herbert Hoover sideline and stands were elated. University City’s coaches and fans were dejected. Yet, the referees were teaching. In blowouts, winning coaches are so happy, they tend to stop teaching. On the losing side, teaching devolves into yelling. In this game, the officials were telling kids on both teams where to lineup to avoid penalties. They helped youngsters up after hard hits and could even be heard saying “keep having fun” to the University City kids.
These officials understand that even when the score is out of reach, kids never are. Youth sports are about fun and fundamentals. The referees here are living examples of both and the Brigade thought they were worthy of recognition.
The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who attend youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches, parents, fans and officials who exhibit good sportsmanship are rewarded with a certificate of recognition and a gift card to a local business. For more on the Brigade, including scheduling and volunteering information, please visit sportsmanship.org or call 314-345-5130.