Good Sportsmanship is a Good Call MAYBE I MISSED SOMETHING in amateur sports, but when did arguing with the referees become an acceptable part of the culture? Recently, I was playing in a rec-level tournament where everyone was expected to volunteer to ref one match.And that would have been fine, had the players (who were adults) acted like adults. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how it went. I saw players scream into the faces of individuals who were refereeing and try to push them into reversing their calls. I saw them stomp over to the registration table and try to demand replacements for the person officiating their match. It’s true that calls made during a fast-moving game, without the benefit of instant replay, might not turn out the way we want. But now, thanks toYouTube and other outlets, it seems as though we’re starting to glorify the players or coaches who pick a fight with the officials, rather than simply accepting their judgment and moving forward. I’m hoping we’re all mature enough to set an example for our young athletes: strength isn’t evidenced by how loudly you can protest a call. It’s evidenced in how well you can put your irritation behind you and focus on the game at hand, whether you’re an athlete, a coach or a parent in the stands. The most important lesson we can teach is that positive behavior brings positive results. This month’s issue contains a great article on “Engaging the Community in Sports Events,” and I’m pleased to see an emphasis on the positive interaction between athletes and communities. Since our athletes may also be traveling abroad and competing in other countries at some point, it’s essential they be good role models there as well.The article on passports and visas can help organizations have the right paperwork ready when travel time comes. Naturally, we’re also focusing on some great sports, like volleyball, lacrosse, road races, boxing, wrestling and martial arts.We highlight the Southeast as a destination, examine stay-to-play arrangements, and help people understand what goes into managing a multi-sport NGB.We even look for ways to make events more earth-friendly. With the Olympics on the horizon, let’s get ready to focus on the best of what the sports world has to offer—and never forget that the first steps of good sportsmanship are taken in our own backyards. Sincerely, Mary Helen Sprecher Managing Editor MARY HELEN SPRECHER has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national association of designers, builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. She has worked in meeting and convention planning for non-profit associations, and previously was a staff writer for a Baltimore, Maryland newspaper. She is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and has taught meeting planning and event management courses in the continuing studies program at Goucher College, located in Towson, Maryland. Her freelance writing includes coverage of topics in the areas of fitness, health, sports medicine and special education.
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