Wisconsin athlete suspended for tweet

It’s bad sportsmanship for high school fans to chant “air ball,” “season’s over” (during a tournament) or other insults declared the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association in an email.

Mockery ensued. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas tweeted “WIAA acceptable” chants.

Instead of “airball,” he suggests: “We note your attempt did not reach the rim, but only to alert the clock operator that a reset is unnecessary.”

Also WIAA-acceptable: “We hope for a positive outcome while fully realizing that the result is not a negative reflection upon our guest.”

But the “s word” hit the fan, when a student athlete tweeted a vulgar response:

April Gehl, a three-sport star at Hilbert High, was suspended for five basketball games for her vulgar response. “I couldn’t believe it,” Gehl said. “I was like, ‘Really? For tweeting my opinion?’ I thought it was ridiculous.”

Does she have a free-speech right to use a vulgarity on social media? If not, isn’t a five-game suspension over the top?

100-2 victors may lose basketball season

After a 100-2 victory in a preseason basketball game, a Kentucky middle school team’s season may be canceled for poor sportsmanship.

Pikeville, a large middle school, played Kimper, a small K-8 school with students as young as 11 on the squad.

Pikeville led 25-0 just 1:48 into the game. The team dropped its full-court press and Coach Bryan Johnson removed all five starters. But the subs were too good for Kimper. Pikeville lead 70-0 by halftime. In the second half, the coach put the starters back in but told them to “stop playing defense” and give the opponents a chance to score.

Pikeville is scheduled to play Kimper during the season. Johnson says he’ll leave his eighth-grade players home.

Parents, chill

Hockey Canada’s ads urging parents to think before they scream, nag, bully and whine are featured on Principals Page. Via Ricochet.

Unsportsmanlike parents are a U.S. problem too.  After two basketball rows, Pittsburgh’s Catholic school parents have been warned that out-of-control spectators will be banned from athletic events.

Silent sports: Parents told not to cheer

Some youth sports teams have gone silent, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Parents and other spectators aren’t allowed to cheer or holler advice. Coaches think the only way to shut up screamers, trash talkers and self-appointed coaches is to shut up everyone.

On a recent silent-game weekend for an Oakland soccer team, 8-year-old Sophia Abelson was playing while her mom and other relatives watched. But she didn’t hear them cheering — because they’d been asked not to.”I felt less inspired,” says Sophia, who plays on the Rockridge Soccer League’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” team.

Her mother, Bibi Jackson, thought the e-mail she’d received before the game, asking all the adults to keep quiet, was a joke. It said that only players would be allowed to speak — and then only on the field.

Karl Hawkins of San Jose, a soccer parent and coach, doesn’t think it’s possible to turn fans into Trappists: “The people you want to control wouldn’t be able to control themselves.”

Win by too much and you lose

A Canadian youth soccer league has a new rule: If a team wins by more than five goals, it forfeits the game. From the National Post:

Bruce Cappon, father of a player, called the rule ludicrous.

“I couldn’t find anywhere in the world, even in a communist country, where that rule is enforced,” he said.

Mr. Cappon said the organization is trying to “reinvent the wheel” by fostering a non-competitive environment. The league has 3,000 children enrolled ranging in age from four to 18 years old.

“Everybody wants a close game, nobody wants blowouts, but we don’t want to go by those farcical rules that they come up with,” he said. “Heaven forbid when these kids get into the real world. They won’t be prepared to deal with the competition out there.”

Coaches are urged to prevent blow-outs by “rotating players out of their usual positions, ensuring players pass the ball around, asking players to kick with the weaker foot, taking players off the field and encouraging players to score from farther away.”

I’d think it would be more humilating to see the other team deliberately not try to score than it would be to lose by a big margin.

Bad sportsmanship penalty for parents

After soccer parents yelled at a referee for a call, Bethesda’s Legacy travel team’s fans were exiled from the sidelines for two games, reports the Washington Post.

As the 13-year-old girls chased the soccer ball around the verdant field Sunday, one set of parents watched from the sidelines in comfy collapsible chairs, sipping coffee. The others were banished to a nearby hill, straining to see the action with binoculars.

The soccer league believes good sportsmanship applies to parents as well as players.

Winner apologizes for 100-0 score

A Christian school in Dallas has apologized for a “shameful” 100-0 victory in girls basketball, reports the Houston Chronicle. Covenant School is seeking to forfeit its game against the Dallas Academy, a small school for students with learning problems. In four seasons, the girls’ team hasn’t won a game.

In the statement on the Covenant Web site, (headmaster Kyle) Queal said the game “does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach to competition. We humbly apologize for our actions and seek the forgiveness of Dallas Academy, TAPPS and our community.”

Covenant was up 59-0 at halftime, but continued to score 3-point baskets.

When I did readings from my book,  Our School, I usually read the chapter about “the shortest basketball team in America.”  They learned how to lose — and eventually they learned how to win.

That’s the lesson Dallas Academy’s girls have learned: Don’t quit.

“My girls never quit,” (athletic director Jeremy Civello) said. “They played as hard as they could to the very end. They played with all their hearts at 70-nothing, 80-nothing and 100-nothing. I was really proud of them. That’s what I told them after the game.”

Apparently, Covenant ran up the score till they hit 100 and then eased up for the rest of the game.