Good Sports

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I spent last Saturday at the Waseca Marching Classic.  This is an annual marching band competition and clinic for high school bands that’s in its third decade.  I believe between the parade and field show competitors there were around 20 schools from Minnesota and Iowa that participated.  And while it got a little cold towards the end of the night it was overall an enjoyable day.

I was there because my nephew is a freshman at Waseca High School and plays trumpet with the Marching Jays.   He has made a ton of friends among the older kids and has earned their respect – as well as that of the directors- by busting his butt and learning the steps AND the music very quickly for a freshman.   I could not be prouder of him.

While trying to stay warm on the metal bleachers during the field shows – not an easy task- I couldn’t help but notice the camaraderie among the spectators.  Sure, most folks were proudly wearing their school’s colors and cheered loudest for their hometown band.   But they were also rooting for good shows from ALL the competitors and ALL the bands got loud cheers from the entire crowd after their performance and even during the awards ceremony!  There was a lovely woman sitting behind me and my sister who knew a ton of about many of the school bands there and told us a lot about their history.  She also explained some of the procedural things that I didn’t understand.  I don’t even know what school she was there to support- it never came up.

While I’m not a sports hater by any means- heck I’m a fantasy football commisioner!- I find this level of sportsmanship is often sorely lacking by the spectators at every level of school sports games/ meets/ matches.  I’m told that kids are in sports to learn about working as team.  To learn about working hard to meet your goals.  To learn leadership.  And I’m not saying they don’t.  But what else do they learn from watching the spectators? Often, nothing good.

Certainly we all want our team to win.  It’s the nature of sports and human nature in general.  But these are kids playing a game.  Even in a loss, perhaps even more so, they can learn the life lessons everyone gives lip service to.  No one is going to die if their team loses.  The kids usually understand this.  It’s the adults who need the lesson, and I’m glad I spent my Saturday with ones who’ve already learned it.

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