One of the best statements I've heard from a coach was after a father came to him complaining that they lost the game because of the officials. The coach looked at him and said, “If we didn’t want the game determined by poor officiating, then we should have scored more points.” It was a good life lesson. The coach's philosophy was spot on. Blaming the game on someone else is not a reason, it's an excuse. The answer to poor officials or a dirty team is to play harder.
School athletics is a time for students to learn about life. It is an opportunity for them to learn the game, to learn about team, to learn that individual stats are not more important than team stats, to learn that there are times in life when you must rise above a cheap shot or a bad call, to learn how to accomplish with humility and to learn to fail with dignity.
As a parent, our job is to watch and encourage our students. Our job is to watch and encourage our team. If someone is doing anything other than that, they may be there for the wrong reasons. As adults, our job is to be the model we want our students to emulate. As an administrator, I am often asked, “How do you know a fan has crossed the line?” My response is always the same, "When they start that second sentence."
I’ll leave you with a quote from the great Vince Lombardi, “Character is the direct result of mental attitude. I believe that character is higher than the intellect. I believe that leadership is in sacrifice, in self-denial, in humility and in the perfectly disciplined will. This is the distinction between great and little men."