My early-morning walks with my dog are an exciting adventure, not only surviving challenging weather and drivers, but on nicer days enjoying deer in different locations, or watching a great horned owl watch us while perched on the corner fence post of the local tennis courts.
Nothing beats the surprise critter visits, but beware of the ornery raccoon popping out of the woods at a moment’s notice.
As I journey through neighborhoods, I also have witnessed helpful decorative tips for holidays. It’s amazing what you’ll see or hear if you’re looking and/or listening for it.
Recently, my attention was drawn to an interesting lawn sign that read “Proud Parent of a Navy Sailor Lives Here.” At the bottom of the sign were displayed the words “Honor, Courage, Commitment.”
Those parents are rightfully pleased of what their son or daughter is accomplishing by being part of the Navy.
We’ve also all probably seen the bumper stickers where parents proudly proclaim their children are honor students.
Those displays are awesome for the right reasons.
There’s one sign I’d like to see when I’m out walking, but I don’t think it exists.
It would read: “This is the Home of a Family that Practices Good Sportsmanship.”
As I continue to attend sporting events, I’m wondering whether people know what good sportsmanship looks like.
For instance, at a recent high school basketball tournament game, the student fans of one school were proclaiming the free throw shooter of the other school had fecal matter in her shorts and then repeated the four-letter word over and over in an attempt to distract the shooter.
Because the student section recited this “cheer” in unison, I have no doubt this chant had been used on prior occasions, maybe throughout the season.
Of course, this all took place after the pregame sportsmanship expectations were established.
This also occurred with the school’s head administrator in attendance.
Nonetheless, the chant didn’t come to a stop until a parent from the offended school went and reported it to a host school attendant.
It wasn’t even the mother of the offended player.
How cool is that?
The host school attendant then went to the student section and instructed them to stop with the offensive chant. He followed that up by reporting to the head administrator who, of course, seemed surprised his students would do such a thing.
I know there are proactive schools practicing good sportsmanship and encouraging kids to use their sharp minds to come up with something clean, fun and encouraging.
This school was having fun, but sadly, it was at someone else’s expense. The way I understand it, the pregame sportsmanship statement frowns at that.
Once again, though, those who are supposed to know better did not follow up until someone asked them.
I really believe if more people have mother-like courage, we can get through to our kids that respect is important and disrespect is unacceptable.
The bottom line is we can do better.
Bill Gosse writes a youth sportsmanship column for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.