For those who don’t know me, my name is Scott Froehlich and I have been the sports editor at the Transcript Bulletin for the last six months. Over that time, I have covered 10 different sports and written articles about dozens of games.
During each game I’ve attended, one thing has been abundantly clear — Tooele-area students and fans are great ambassadors for their respective schools. Sportsmanship is alive and well in the county and it couldn’t be more encouraging.
For perspective, when I was in college at Utah State University I covered one of the Aggies’ club teams and was appalled at how the fans acted during most home games I attended. I won’t name the sport, to avoid calling out a particular group of fans, but it’s safe to say that this behavior wasn’t representative of USU as a whole.
As I covered each game, I couldn’t help but notice the vicious attacks these fans would hurl at the opposing teams. They would even taunt the team when the Aggies had just scored! Heckles, name-calling and incessant booing became almost too much to stomach and there were times I’d actually dread going to the games.
In contrast, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see fans and students alike behave with respect and class at Grantsville, Stansbury and Tooele high schools. The state of Utah and the Utah High School Activities Association have been diligent in promoting good stewardship during games and the results are evident.
The UHSAA’s mission statement clearly defines what good sportsmanship should look like across five principles:
• Sportsmanship promotes good citizenship and respect for self and others
• Sportsmanship means competing within the boundaries of the rules
• Sportsmanship creates a positive environment for competition
• Sportsmanship develops a sense of appreciation for a good performance
• Sportsmanship builds positive school spirit
• Sportsmanship is the responsibility of all participants, including: players, coaches, officials administrators, students, parents and fans
While many people view good sportsmanship as a thing of the past, it only takes a trip to the local high school football or baseball field to witness the grace shown during each game. It may be true that many fans of professional sports may be rabid and unruly, but I have yet to see any of those shenanigans in Tooele County.
So as the winter sports season heads down the stretch over the next two months, I just wanted to leave a message to the spectators whom I share the bleachers with each week: Thank you for making each game inviting to outsiders, especially for a local sports reporter who is still getting used to covering each game.