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Kuemmel's Corner: Promoting sportsmanship

The 10 athletic directors in the Suburban East Conference are committed to promoting a sportsmanship initiative to help improve the behavior in the stands at our athletic events. As fans enter every contest at Park, they will notice a sandwich board with the major components of this new initiative.

Last week, the conference held a sportsmanship summit as part of this project. Each school sent its “SuperFans” to Cretin-Derham High School to meet with each other to discuss how we can improve sportsmanship at our events.

The first topic was “above the line and below the line” behaviors. Our co-curricular activities are an extension of the classroom, and we want the students in the stands to treat it that way. The students from the different schools also discussed traditions that each school has (don’t walk on the Indian!) and different stereotypes about the students from their own school as well as the other conference schools. Finally, the students themselves came up with a list of what they thought was acceptable to do at games and a list of what they felt is not acceptable. One result of the get-together was that the students at all of the schools realized that despite what school they go to or what color they paint their face, each of them was actually a lot alike. They also realized how painful personal attacks against individuals from other teams really can be. When other teams come to Park, we will try to treat them like a visitor in our homes.

This group of SuperFans is a great group (they even have their own Twitter account @ParkSuperFans14), and all students at Park are very supportive of our teams. Two of their goals are to increase school spirit at all of our events (even swimming and cross country!) and get more students involved from all grade levels in cheering on our teams.

We have talked a lot in the building about what is expected of our fans and what is accepted at games. Our fans know this and are able to abide by it. This group of Park students has stayed positive in their cheering and has showed great sportsmanship throughout the season. They really are “Super” fans. Let’s keep it up!

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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