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JORDAN: Sportsmanship still matters on the court

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Basketball is getting way too physical.

This has worked its way down from the NBA and college level, where officials now allow a great deal of contact even on shooting fouls. This was obvious in the recent middle school tournament which was, in general, well officiated.

Also, I have no problem with a team scoring 100 points or more. After all, it’s the losing team that is supposed to prevent that.

What I do have a problem with is a team that is nearing 100 points and leading by 35 or more with a running clock, calling unneeded timeouts, and intentionally fouling to stop the clock in order to increase their chances of getting to 100 and, in their mind at least, embarrassing an opponent.

The Siegel boys did this recently.

But no matter who does it, it is bad sportsmanship and has no place in the game.

Win with class.

The Oakland High School student cheering section throwing baby powder in the air after the boys first basket in the Riverdale game would have been funny if it hadn’t been dangerous. The game was actually going on at the time. As it was, it delayed the game more than 20 minutes, while numerous people helped clean up the mess.

No one slipped, there were no injuries, and no one got angry during the delay. There were also no technicals either.

After considerable discussion, finger pointing and school resource officers walking around looking at each other, it was decided that the entire Oakland student section would be ejected.

They left without protest.

The Oakland administrator in charge, Tim Roediger, handled the situation calmly and perfectly.

This has happened before but not this year.

I also remember the famous toilet paper incident at Blackman a few seasons ago. I think there was a technical foul called that night but no ejections. That incident, while silly, was not as dangerous because it happened during a break.

I have heard a lot of negative comments about this in the last few days.

Let me assure you that the incident does not represent Oakland High, its coaches, players or fans. Chalk it up to a few thoughtless teenagers who made a poor decision. I understand many of them are still paying for the mistake.

This brings us to the recent Rutherford County Middle School Basketball Tournament at Whitworth-Buchanan Middle School.

The tournament ran like clockwork. The Yellow Jacket staff and Principal Avy Seymore did a terrific job, and the games were often exciting and chocked full of talent.

Unfortunately, there was a negative side that is hard to ignore.

Why a few parents yell at and sometimes threaten their own children in front of a gym full of people is a mystery.

It certainly does not help their team, and their actions make everyone within earshot uncomfortable, not to mention embarrasses the child. The parent ends up revealing themselves as interfering at best, and a bully at worst.

Over the years, I have seen many parents help their children improve in sports in many different ways.

Usually, this takes place weeks or days before a game. Once a game begins, coaching from the bleachers generally adds pressure and seldom improves performance. The player becomes distracted and confused, especially if they are trying to listen to their coach, while at the same time, gazing up in the stands for mom or dad.

Which brings me to the time honored question: What does a player, coach or fan do when they win or lose a game?

Jumping around the gym with unbridled, over-the-top enthusiasm is generally not an option, win or lose.

Act as if you have done this before: Do not embarrass yourself or an opponent.

Shake hands, congratulate everyone, and show proper sportsmanship. Celebrate in the locker room.

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Basketball, Oakland, Parenting, Rutherford County, Siegel, Sports
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