George Jenkins student has runner-up finish in USA Today National Sportsmanship Day essay contest
George Jenkins (Lakeland) senior Kathryn Krebs was recently announced as runner-up in the high school division for the USA Today National Sportsmanship Day essay contest as part of the 20th annual National Sportsmanship Day. This was also the 19th year for the essay contest. Kathyrn's entry appeared on the Institute for International website and is below. Congratulations to Kathryn!
"Fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct among athletes, particularly in high school sports, is rising at an alarming rate. Increasingly, athletes who are unable to control their emotions are at risk, especially when they are confronted by other students, athletes or fans. Athletes prone to aggressive behavior, whether during practice or games, may be more likely to exhibit similar behavior in the community as well. Such actions could eventually lead to potentially harmful consequences.
"It is essential to remember that participation in high school sports is a privilege, and not a right. Students who wish to participate in athletic programs should be informed that player behavior and sportsmanship will be enforced. Even the smallest act of unsportsmanlike conduct or violence at a practice or a game should be immediately addressed and resolved. Ultimately, all administrators, officials, and coaches should be responsible for fairly and consistently following and enforcing athletic rules and policies.
"Explaining and demonstrating fairness, integrity, and personal responsibility to young athletes is one way to educate them about proper sportsmanlike conduct. If young student athletes are not taught early in life to handle their emotions in challenging, unpredictable situations and to exhibit sportsmanlike conduct on the field or court, potentially volatile situations could result. Teaching students to walk away from such potentially unmanageable situations provides opportunities for parents and coaches to address how students can handle their emotions and prevent involvement in a standoff. The outcome could be as simple as an athlete being penalized or as horrific as an athlete injuring another player. Additionally, such education could prevent violent outbursts or escalating situations like a “clearing the bench” event during a game. “Clearing the bench” is just one example of athletes being unable to separate their actions from their emotions. Such a negative domino effect is counterproductive.
"Furthermore, to address the sportsmanship issue mandatory sportsmanship meetings for athletes, parents, and coaches should be included as an integral part of high school athletic programs nationwide. For example, my high school holds a mandatory sportsmanship meeting at the beginning of each sports season. All athletes and coaches are required to attend or they cannot participate during that season. The purpose of these meetings is to inform everyone about the consequences of unsportsmanlike conduct and suggest methods for student athletes to utilize in challenging situations. Additionally, I established a club at my high school to promote sportsmanship, leadership, and character and instill a sense of honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility among junior varsity and varsity athletes. My ultimate goal is to expand this club nationwide and provide opportunities for high school athletes to achieve eminence."