Precinct 333

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ban The Sport, Not Good Sportsmanship

The traditional post-game handshake has been banned at high school girls soccer games in San Francisco. It seems that harsh words, insults and hard handslaps and even blows have been exchanged. So now the following rule has been put in place.

Not only that, but "all soccer players will be barred from saying a single word to their opponents, opposing coaches or officials upon the conclusion of every soccer game,'' Donald Collins, the school district's high school athletic commissioner, decreed in an e-mail to all coaches and referees Monday.

So instead of winners and losers exchanging friendly or even perfunctory high-fives, "all soccer players will immediately proceed to their respective sidelines upon the conclusion of every soccer game,'' Collins commanded.

This is precisely the wrong decision. This rule even punishes a student who thanks a referee or tells compliments an opposing player. If there is a problem, the offenders need to be disciplined, including suspensions or even bans. If it is so severe that displays of good sportsmanship need to be banned, then the teams need to be disbanded and the season cancelled. You don’t implement another zero tolerance rule that fails to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate conduct.


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