Editorial: Sportsmanship should be our priority after 17-0 football game | Editorials

Sports in high school are all about building character, teamwork and school spirit. Winning games is good. Experiencing the joy of teamwork is great. Breaking a record is thrilling.

All of those goals collided during a football game on September 29 between Kingsley and Benzie Central. The demoralizing 17-0 loss (with a record 16 goals scored by a single player from Benzie) for the Kingsley team resulted in such a wave of criticism on social media that the Kingsley Area Schools Board of Education has it. on the agenda for its October meeting.

Monday morning’s quarterbacks offered plenty of thoughts on the game: Benzie’s coach could have pulled his phenomenon out of the game earlier, robbing him of the chance to set a record. Kingsley’s coach could have forfeited the game before the score got too lopsided. Officials could have stopped the game before half-time (rules require at least half of a game to be over for this to count).

No one blames the athletes. They all played to the best of their ability, and that’s exactly what we’re asked of them. But some of the adults involved accept the criticism.

Kingsley Superintendent Keith Smith told Monday’s school board meeting that he and athletic director Mitch Miggenburg would draft a letter expressing the district’s frustration, disapproval and disappointment with the game and that the board would review the letter at a meeting in November.

Also at Monday’s meeting, William Pelloski, a 15-year-old sophomore soccer team member, standing next to his teammates, told the board he was demoralized by the loss to Benzie, the winless season as a whole and the attitude of his classmates towards the struggling team.

“It feels like this school is abandoning its football team,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s bad and it will never get better. Our team could do well if we got the support of other people. We need that Kingsley pride. I have a lot of respect (Benzie star striker Kevin Hubbell, who scored all 16 goals) and their team. He’s a great player. He’s an amazing player, but what they did was not sportsmanship, ”said Pelloski. “It’s not (Hubbell’s) fault. Some of what the coach did was not acceptable.

Pelloski said the bullying of his own classmates about the struggling football program has been going on for years, dating back to college. Benzie’s contest result only made matters worse, he said.

Kingsley’s athletes have won admiration elsewhere.

Buckley High School soccer head coach John Vermilya had a winless season in his first year at the helm of the Bears. They’ve since built a program that qualified for the state semifinals in 2017 and just won the program’s first Northwest Conference title since 1999. He admires Kingsley’s athletes.

“Can you imagine getting bombed in every game and coming back for more?” It’s heroic, ”said Vermilya.

It is unfortunate that Kingsley football players get beaten both on and off the pitch.

Pelloski’s father, Zach Schaaf, spoke out against bullying at school. Addressing this should be the No.1 priority for Kingsley’s board and administration, he said, calling it the “missing piece of the puzzle” in gaining support for the football team.

“It shouldn’t happen,” Schaaf said. “It’s not Kingsley’s pride. Let’s have a little pride. Support our boys. They are going through a difficult time. They don’t need to be stacked by other kids from our own school.

Kingsley Superintendent Keith Smith congratulated the team members.

“They behaved with a lot more dignity and grace than I could have on my own,” Smith said. “Hats off to the children for staying there and playing.”

We agree. Grain is essential for high school athletics. Sportsmanship too.

School board members, school officials, coaches, parents and classmates can all learn from the balance that Kingsley soccer players have demonstrated throughout their season, both on the grounds and in the halls of the school.

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