Our view: Athletics creating a 2-week soap opera of headlines

Cheating via cyberspace.

Coaches fired because of alleged text messages that could be interpreted as bullying.

Schools playing ineligible players – an infraction that cost innocent players both an outright district championship and a home playoff game.

Welcome to the world of Tri-parish prep athletics in the past few weeks – a bizarro world that has seen a litany of allegations, infractions and penalties among a handful of schools throughout our area.

We’ve done our best as a staff to chase the details of each situation – you can find those stories in our pages from this issue and also our Nov. 6 issue.

But the entire past 14 days present an ethical question that we’d like to consider in this week’s editorial space.

Is this what prep athletics are really all about?

Our take is absolutely not.

It is our belief that it’s time more people understand the essence of school-sanctioned sports and what their purpose is in the grand spectrum of things.

Prep athletics are not about winning. They are about molding young men and women to become better individuals.

They are about teaching pride and camaraderie to teenage children trying to find their place in the spectrum of life.

Prep athletics are about unity, teamwork and sportsmanship – all lessons that the participants will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives.

But because of contractual pressures to achieve at the highest levels, sometimes school administrators hire coaches with the wrong reasons.

Sometimes coaches fear for their jobs and their livelihood and do things with ill intentions for the sake of obtaining victory.

So just to clarify, our editorial staff decided to do the legwork and head to Webster’s to look up the actual definition of sportsmanship so that those in positions of power in athletics can always understand what it means.

So here it goes: Sportsmanship.

Noun. Three syllables.

Definition – the character, practice or skill of a sportsman; a person who exhibits qualities highly regarded in sport, such as fairness, generosity, observance of the rules and good humour when losing.

Have the things that we’ve seen in the past few weeks embody individuals with good sportsmanship?

You be the judge of that.

We surely think the evidence speaks for itself.