This past week, I attended the UHSAA 4A and 5A basketball championships at the University of Utah along with hundreds of other fellow prep sports enthusiasts. Unfortunately, I am concerned that many spectators' behavior ran contrary to this important value.
In most every contest I attended, I observed partisan spectators, grown adults and students alike, displaying substantial negative behavior, directed both at opponents and at contest officials. "Boos" and personal insults were often heard over any positive encouragement of the teams and players these spectators were there to support.
In one instance, a man seated directly behind me decided to protest a decision made by an official by loudly "booing" mere inches from my ear. When I politely asked if he would please stop doing that, as such a noise so near me was causing a headache, rather than apologizing, he told me I should move elsewhere and continued his obscene action.
Is this what sports culture has become? It is most distressing to me that this negativity infects such a wonderful opportunity to positively support our student-athletes. If grown adults can act so childishly with regard to a mere game, how can we expect young men and women to understand the importance of respect, sportsmanship and discretion?