On Sportsmanship at Williston

Presented by Director of Athletics Mark Conroy during The Williston Northampton School’s all-school meeting on September 19, 2012.

Good morning, everyone.

In my role as the Director of Athletics here at Williston, I wanted to take just a moment this morning to speak to you briefly about a topic that is very, very important to me and to our entire community. Those of you who know me know well know that I am incredibly proud of my association with Williston—a place that my family and I have called home for the past 13 years. We are all so fortunate to be a part of this wonderful school community.

From an athletics standpoint, we have so much to be proud of. Just last year Williston athletics had a long list of accomplishments that were noteworthy: a number of our teams qualified for the New England post-season tournament (boys and girls soccer, field hockey, girls ice hockey…just to name a few); we had a handful of students become New England champions; we had numerous school records set; we had many, many students earn All League, All New England, Academic All American and even All American recognition; we had a senior class in which over 25 percent of its graduates are off competing in college  this year—far, far above the national average.

While we should all take great pride in these wonderful accomplishments, for me personally, they are not what I am most proud of in terms of our athletic program. I am most proud of the legacy that we have all inherited here at Williston—specifically our great tradition of sportsmanship.

This tradition of sportsmanship has two dimensions that are equally important. The first dimension is related to the manner in which our teams and individuals represent Williston, always being mindful that our actions on the field of play should reflect positively on our great school. The second dimension of sportsmanship is our ability as a community to be a respectful host of our opponents as spectators.

At Williston, we take great pride in our school spirit as we look to inspire our teams to play their hearts out rather than look for opportunities to antagonize, demean, or disrespect the performance of our opponents.

My personal philosophy is that we all should strive to make certain that competition bring out the best in us not the worst. Both of these elements of sportsmanship can best be summarized in a short phrase that is at the core of who we are as a community: “respect for self and others.”

Many of you know that Williston is a member of NEPSAC—the New England Prep School Athletic Council—an association of nearly 200 independent schools throughout New England. One of my obligations as a member of this association is to remind us all about NEPSAC’s code of ethics that all member schools are expected to abide by.

Fortunately for us, this code is absolutely consistent with our approach to sportsmanship. Here are just a few highlights listed:

1.      Treat other persons as you know they should be treated, and as you wish them to fairly treat you.

2.      Regard the rules of your game as agreements, the spirit or letter of which you should not evade or break.

3.      Treat officials and opponents with respect.

4.      Accept absolutely and without quarrel the final decision of any official.

5.      Honor visiting teams and spectators as your own guests and treat them as such.  Likewise, yourself behave as an honored guest when you visit another school.

6.      Be gracious in victory and defeat; learn especially to take defeat well.

I am very proud of Williston athletics program and the conduct of our teams on the field. I look forward to a great upcoming year. Go Wildcats!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.