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The voice that every high school athlete and fan hears before every event is a reminder to everyone in the stadium about the importance of sportsmanship and what it means to the officials in Montgomery County. This recording is played before every event to try to keep the game clean and make sure both sides leave with dignity. This slight reminder seems to be making a difference in athletics around the county.
Montgomery County athletics values sportsmanship over talent and considers it significantly more important than who wins and loses. The message is direct: “Let all of [athletes] actions be guided by respect,” according to Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA).
MCPS expects every single student-athlete to take responsibility to promoting good citizenship through sportsmanship. But, this is not only about the athletes as coaches, officials, and fans are also expected to control themselves and make a difference in the community.
Coaches have the responsibility of mentoring and showing the players the way they should treat others, as well as mold their programs that they represent. “Being able to see the boys grow and mature into wonderful people is really what makes this job special,” JV baseball coach Robert Acevado said.
Officials also have an important job of keeping the game respectful and avoiding any fights or violence that may occur. An official’s ability to keep control of the game is valuable to MCPS athletics as some players may lose their composure and may not realize the harm they could cause to others. If an official controls the game and maintains a clean respectful game, the county benefits.
Fans are supposed to make sure that they keep their comments clean and cheer instead of boo. Having fans is important for the players as they bring confidence and motivation. Having more supporters promotes MCPS athletics and encourages both sides to play better. “When we play an important game, and the crowd is packed it gives our team confidence and a new sense of composure. This has an effect on both sides, “When the other side is going crazy, and you can barely hear your coach it is difficult to play,” junior Richard Montgomery defender Kieran Chai-Onn said. As long as these fans stay respectful and cheer instead of boo the game benefits tremendously.” junior lacrosse midfielder Chris Rinaldi said.
Probably the most important group is the athletes. They need to control their emotions and still keep their intensity in the game. It is a difficult job for every player, and takes skill to maintain your energy, temper and annoyance. Because this is so difficult for athletes the MPSSAA awards the athlete who has performed the best in the classroom, on the field, and increased their leadership and sportsmanship on and off the field. This award is given to one player in all of Maryland and they receive an $1,000 scholarship from the MPSSAA. This award shows the importance of sportsmanship to not only the county, but the entire state of Maryland. These values are expected to be shown by every single Montgomery County, as our county is trying to take huge strides in making respect an important aspect of the game.
Every athlete should understand their effect and realize that a win in a should not be more important than respecting the game.