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Once again, I would like to welcome all sports minded (or not) readers to the December issue of the Vinnie Mac Sports Corner. A little bit of a personal health problem prohibited the Sports Corner from reporting on the 2009 football team, but NFH’s new addition to the sports staff, Tiffany Brewer, handled that and will continue to report on all sports, except the boys varsity basketball team, which falls under the Vinnie Mac Sports Corner.The Sports Corner welcomes all correspondence (it must be signed and include an address) from our readers on any sport-related matter at Falcon High School. If space in the paper allows, we will make every attempt to share your views with the NFH readers.My e-mail address is and you can call me at 719-390-0953. The following article was published in one of last school term issues of the NFH paper. However, since basketball games are played in a confined area, it is sometimes easy to let our emotions enter into the flow of the game. I felt it would be good to run it again for the benefit of those who might have missed it or for the new subscribers of our paper. Enjoy!SportsmanshipEmily was crying by the time the softball game ended. It wasn’t because her team had lost. It wasn’t because she was unhappy about her own playing. It wasn’t even because of anything the other team had said or done. Emily’s tears came after her dad yelled at her – in front of all her teammates – for missing the fly ball that could have saved the game. Emily is just 8 years old.If your child has ever participated in a sport, you’ve undoubtedly met people like Emily’s dad, parents who behave inappropriately and upset their kids. These parents get so wrapped up in winning and losing or how well their own kids perform that they lose sight of what’s really important. They forget that one of the most important goals of kids’ sports is to promote a sense of good sportsmanship.What is good sportsmanship?Good sportsmanship is when teammates, opponents, coaches and officials treat each other with respect. Kids learn the basics of sportsmanship from the adults in their lives, especially their parents and coaches. Kids who see adults behaving in a sportsmanship-like way gradually understand that the real winners in sports are those who know how to persevere and behave with dignity – whether they win or lose.Parents can help their kids understand that good sportsmanship includes both small gestures and heroic efforts. It starts with something as simple as shaking hands with opponents before a game and includes acknowledging good plays made by others and gracefully accepting bad calls.Displaying good sportsmanship isn’t always easy. It can be tough to congratulate the opposing team after losing a close or important game. But the kids who learn how to do it will benefit in many ways.Kids who bully or taunt others on the playing field aren’t likely to change their behavior when in the classroom or in social situations. In the same way, a child who practices good sportsmanship is likely to carry the respect and appreciation of other people into every other aspect of life.Good sports are winnersAsk first or second-graders who won a game and they might answer, “I think it was a tie.” It’s likely the question isn’t of any real interest at that age. Kids may be more eager to talk about the hits they got or the catches they almost made.But as they move into older and more competitive leagues, kids become more focused on winning. They often forget to have fun. Without constant reminders and good examples, they may also forget what behavior is appropriate before, during and after a sporting event.Kids with coaches who only care about being in first place and have that anything-goes-as-long-as-we-win attitude pick up the message that it’s OK to be ruthless on the field. If parents constantly pressure them to play better or second-guess their every move, kids get the message that they’re only as good as their last good play – and they’ll try anything to make one.Adults who emphasize good sportsmanship, however, see winning as just one of several goals they’d like their kids to achieve. They help young athletes take pride in their accomplishments and improved skills, so the kids see themselves as winners, even if the scoreboard doesn’t show it.The best coaches – and parents – encourage their kids to play fair, to have fun and to concentrate on helping the team while polishing their own skills.Fostering good sportsmanshipRemember the saying “Actions speak louder than words”? That’s especially true when it comes to teaching your kids the basics of good sportsmanship. Your behavior during practices and games will influence them more than any pep talk or lecture you give them.Here are some suggestions on how to build sportsmanship in your kids:Unless you’re coaching your child’s team, you need to remember that you’re the parent. Shout words of encouragement, not directions, from the sidelines (there is a difference!).If you are your kid’s coach, don’t expect too much out of your own child. Don’t be harder on him or her than on anyone else on the team, but don’t play favorites either.Keep your comments positive. Don’t bad-mouth coaches, players or game officials. If you have a serious concern about the way games or practices are being conducted or if you’re upset about other parents’ behavior, discuss it privately with the coach or with a league official.After a competition, it’s important not to dwell on who won or lost. Instead, try asking, “How did you feel you did during the game?” If your child feels weak at a particular skill, like throwing or catching, offer to work on it together before the next game.Applaud good plays no matter who makes them.Set a good example with your courteous behavior toward the parents of kids on the other team. Congratulate them when their kids win.Remember that it’s your kids, not you, who are playing. Don’t push them into a sport because it’s what you enjoyed. As kids get older, let them choose the sports they want to play and the level of commitment they want to make.Keep your perspective. It’s just a game. Even if the team loses every game of the season, it’s unlikely to ruin your child’s life or chances of success.Look for examples of good sportsmanship in professional athletes and point them out to your kids. Talk about the bad examples, too, and why they upset you.Finally, don’t forget to have fun. Even if your child isn’t the star, enjoy the game while you’re thinking of all the benefits your child is gaining – new skills, new friends and attitudes that can help all through life.This article was reviewed by Steven Dowshen, M.D.CLIP N SAVE 2009-2010 BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL SCHEDULEBelow is the boys’ varsity basketball schedule for 2009-2010. With this much time before a home game, there’s plenty of time to schedule the basketball games into your weekends. Maybe check out an away game, too, to support the team.Don’t forget to clip this as your personal basketball schedule.

December 1AWAYPueblo Central7 p.m.
December 3AWAYRampart Tip Off Classic7 p.m.
December 5AWAYRampart Tip Off Classic7 p.m.
December 5AWAYRampart Tip Off Classic7 p.m.
December 8HOMECoronado7 p.m.
December 11AWAYPueblo East7 p.m.
December 15HOMEPueblo Central7 p.m.
December 18HOMECanon City7 p.m.
January 09AWAYWidefield7 p.m.
January 12AWAYHarrison7 p.m.
January 14HOMECastle View7 p.m.
January 15HOMECheyenne Mtn.7 p.m.
January 21AWAYLewis Palmer7 p.m.
January 23HOMESierra7 p.m.
February 9HOMEWidefield7 p.m.
February 11HOMEHarrison7 p.m.
February 13AWAYValor Christian7 p.m.
February 16AWAYCastle View7 p.m.
February 19AWAYCheyenne Mtn.7 p.m.
February 23HOME1st Round PlayoffsTBA
February 27AWAY2nd Round PlayoffsTBA
March 4AWAYSweet 16TBA
March 6AWAYGreat 8TBA
March 10AWAYState FinalsTBA
March 11AWAYState FinalsTBA
March 12AWAYState FinalsTBA
March 13AWAYState FinalsTBA

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