Over the past two weeks we have seen student athletes and volunteer coaches participating in zone playoffs. As we are entering the basketball provincials season we would like to remind all our student athletes, our coaches, and especially our parents, fans, and community members about some basic things for this season.

School sports are a great way to encourage physical fitness and active lifestyles in participants. Team members learn to work as a group, to strategize collectively, and to follow a plan. All participants learn to deal effectively with both winning and losing graciously. School sports can teach athletes, coaches, and spectators important life lessons, and in our communities they are a prime source of community entertainment, culture, pride, and even identity.

School sports can also have negative impacts on students, schools, and communities when not approached with care and respect. The students, the coaches, and the referees in school sports are not sports professionals. Our students are young people who do their best. Our coaches are mostly not teachers, 80% of our teachers do not coach sports teams, and all are community members like yourself. They volunteer for our students’ benefit. Our referees are not perfect, nor do they have the technological tools, the training, or the extensive experience that referees in professional sports have. Regardless of who they are or their backgrounds, everyone at our sporting events is deserving of your kindness, patience, and respect. 

All our athletes, coaches, and referees have sportsmanship codes that they try to live by. These include treating opposing players and teams with dignity, respect and honour; maintaining self control at all times; being considerate and courteous to everyone, including athletes, coaches, referees, and spectators alike; and recognizing excellence, regardless of the team accomplishing them. We ask parents and spectators to also live by similar codes of honour and sportsmanship.

This year we remind and ask parents and spectators to be extra kind to the people you know at sporting events, and the people you don’t know; to the people you are cheering for and to those you aren’t. Westwind Schools and communities must be welcoming, safe, caring, and respectful places for all to visit and participate in.