State Stories


IHSA Fall Sportsmanship Stories

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As a part of the IHSA Do What’s Right! Sportsmanship Program, member school personnel and licensed IHSA officials have the ability to recognize acts of exemplary sportsmanship and integrity that occur in IHSA events throughout the school year via the Sport A Winning Attitude Report (SAWA). Those who are recognized receive a special certificate from the IHSA and select SAWAs are featured here on the IHSAState website.

The following is a compilation of SAWA Reports submitted by IHSA officials from fall sports during the 2016 season:

On September 9, Mt. Pulaski hosted a high school boys soccer game against Springfield Lutheran. Mt. Pulaski was holding a team benefit for Landon, a young child with cancer. Lutheran's players and coaches enthusiastically participated in the planned team activities. Prior to the start of the game the Lutheran players presented Landon with a contribution. So the Mt. Pulaski players could wear special yellow "Team Landon" jerseys, the Lutheran team agreed to be the designated home team and wore white. The Lutheran team captains graciously allowed Landon to participate in the pre-game captain/coaches meeting. He was also part of the World cup walkout and handshake ceremony. The whole team participated in a brief after game ceremony even though they were wet from a rain shower which had occurred in the 2nd half.

During Fridays Varsity contest Peoria Notre Dame Coach Sean Gillen's staff and team demonstrated an extremely high level of Sportsmanship towards their opponents and also towards the officials. It is a pleasure to work a game where you have no issues with the sideline or on the field. Coach Gillen and his staff are example of the right way to run a High School Football program from top to bottom. Notre Dame had a player #74 that came onto the field while an opponent was on the ground injured and brought him a bottle of water and talked to him until his own coach and trainer arrived to check on him. The entire crowd applauded his actions which didn't appear to be prompted by anything but compassion for his injured opponent. Our hats are off to this young man.

Lake Forest’s Jon Marc Pintas was a field player (defender.) The ball was kicked out of play. Because of the angle of the play, he official thought it was kicked out by his opponent. As such, this official awarded a throw in to Mr. Pintas' team. Mr. Pintas immediately told the official that he had kicked the ball out, and that the throw in should be awarded to the opponent. As the ball had not been played, this was done.

I was the linesman on the Downers Grove North sideline in the varsity football game between Downers Grove North and Proviso East on September 3. The sportsmanship of the entire Downers Grove North sideline was extraordinary and fantastic. There was not a lot of room on this sideline and this school has a large roster. While the score was still closely contested, there were several penalties and calls that went againstDowners Grove North. The coaches were not interested in complaining, but only finding out what happened so that it would not happen again and so that they could talk to the player. From the opening whistle to the end of the game the staff and tried to stay out of my way so I could do my job. A player from Downers Grove North never raised their voices in talking to all of the officials on the field. Downers Grove North should be congratulated as this sportsmanship is what high school athletics is supposed to teach to these players. Keep it up Downers Grove North and BRAVO!!!

Two opposing players were contesting the ball and it was hit out of bounds over the touchline. It appeared to me to have been last touched by Vandalia's opponent. I made the call for Vandalia throw-in. Vandalia’s Nic Wollerman immediately stepped up and stated to me it was off him it should be the opposing team’s throw-in. He was genuinely sincere that the ball be correctly awarded to his opponent.

Prior to the JV/varsity volleyball doubleheader between Altamont and Casey-Westfield, my partner and I informed the Altamont coach that their libero’s jersey was not legal. We informed the Casey coach of that conversation so she would know why their libero was not playing after warming up. The Casey coach asked if she could provide a solid color jersey to their libero to wear, and thus not disrupt their normal substitution/replacement patterns. The jersey she was able to obtain was proper and she then offered it to the Altamont coach for use.

My crew feels like the Glenbard North-Waubonsie Valley game was the picture of what high school football is supposed to be. Everyone involved should be commended and proud of the work they are doing for their school, community and the kids. Both teams were very respectful, played hard and exhibited everything that the IHSA Support A Winning Attitude is all about. Please make sure these schools know that we were all very proud to be part of such a wonderful game and we hope to see both programs again in the future.

#40 for Westinghouse High School was in street clothes and not playing in the game, but assigned as a member of the chain crew. During the game he was helping the opponent, King High School, with the tasks of getting their ball in, or helping them find their tee. This attitude of helping out, just to help out the opponent goes a long way in fostering good sportsmanship, and I wish I saw that more often when I am officiating. Hats off to this young man.

During the 4th quarter of the game on October 7th between Salem and Mt Zion, the head coach of Mt Zion asked an official about running a play with a Mt Zion player who is autistic. Our official suggested taking a time out so he could come to our Referee and subsequently go talk to the Salem head coach. The score at this time was 42-6 and both teams had mainly JV players in the game. During the conference with the Salem head coach, Coach Green was advised the Mt Zion has a player with autism and that they would like to put him in the game to score a touchdown. Coach Green graciously agreed and also pulled his team to the sideline to discuss this with them. He instructed them to let the player score and also to make a fake attempt to stop the runner by diving to the ground as he got close. The player was allowed to score, Salem "attempted" to stop him, and when he scored the entire Mt Zion team met him to congratulate him as well as the Salem players that were on the field. This was an incredible act of sportsmanship and humanity from Coach Green and his entire staff and team and should be recognized. This is what high school sports should be about! Our crew complimented Salem and their kids and were thankful to be a part of that moment. After the game, the players dad went to the Salem coaches to thank them and waited for our crew and the Mt Zion AD after the game to thank us as well.

In my volleyball match, a girl for Agape Christian tried a kill that I called out as it landed beyond the back line. Megan Davis, a player for Galatia, looked up at me and said she touched the ball before it went out, so I changed the call. That was a terrific instance of sportsmanship and one which should be recognized.

After a collision with a player from Rockford Christian Life which left him and the other player with a cut above each player's eye, North Boone’s Paul Weiss was more concerned with the condition of the other player and his well being than anything else going on at game. He went to check on the other player several times and said encouraging words to the other injured player. I personally spoke to Mr. Weiss and told him that his actions towards the other player about his concern about his well-being was a great gesture of sportsmanship and I commanded him for it. I wished him well to get better soon.

I would like to take this opportunity to let the IHSA know that while working the St. Joseph-Ogden at (Tolono) Unity JV Football Game, every player for St. Joseph-Ogden showed the upmost respect to the officials and showed the best Sportsmanship towards their opponent who happens to be their rival. The players would help up the Unity players after tackling them and give each other "five" to show respect after a Unity player placed a big block on them. This was a fun game to officiate. This is a great group of young men and I wish them the very best of luck during the rest of their high school career!

The Effingham soccer coaches and team members are to be commended for their inclusiveness of players with special needs. The implicit message such inclusiveness conveys has immeasurable positive impact upon the player, her teammates, other students, and spectators. Well done!

The players showed excellent sportsmanship in a football game between Newman Central Catholic and St. Bede Academy. They were helping the opposing players up after the tackles. They were complementing their opponents at times. The coaching staff also showed good sportsmanship. I am sure they did not agree with every call, but there was no screaming or complaining from their sideline. They spoke with the sideline official showing the upmost respect. The fans cheered on their team throughout the game. They didn't boo or yell out derogatory comments to any of the players, coaches, or officials. It was truly a pleasure to officiate their game. Newman is modeling the type of sportsmanship that the IHSA desires.

During the run of play, Joshua Smits from Illiana Christain had taken a shot on goal that hit the net. The AR2 had awarded a goal believing it had gone in. The opposing team was not happy with the call as they thought the ball hit the outside of the net. I stopped the clock to talk with the AR because I thought it looked like it hit outside also. As we were discussing, Joshua came up to us and told us that the ball did not go inside the net. We thanked him for his honesty and the game continued. The game was only 1 to 0 at the time.

Eli Leffelmen, #17 for Newman Central Catholic deserves special recognition for his outstanding leadership and sportsmanship. Mr. Leffelmen demonstrated outstanding leadership and sportsmanship throughout the entire game. He encouraged his teammates to play hard and encouraged them to do the same to other players. When he recognized a teammate that may be getting close to committing an unsportsmanlike act, he controlled the situation. He was constantly helping others, both teammates and the opponents off the ground. Eli even recognized great plays by the opponents. Eli demonstrated the best leadership and sportsmanship that I have seen in the past several years while officiating on the football field. More players like Eli Leffelmen are needed in high school athletics.

The football contest between Rockridge and Fulton was one of the best high school games I have ever been involved with. Playoff atmosphere for a game that went down to wire. This game was mostly penalty free, hard hitting, where the kids left everything out on the field. Both teams helped each other up patted each play after play then huddled up strapped it up and did it again and again. The game went down to final seconds where Fulton pulled out the victory. Nobody but the kids on the field decided the outcome of the game and it was a joy to officiate and be involved in

Liam Magrady, John Babbo, and Beck Luth were captains for Fenwick. As I conducted my pre-game, I told the captains that the touchlines were barely visible, and that they needed to play to the whistle. Also, I told them do not call the game. After the coin toss, the Fenwick captains clearly told their teammates what I told them and I was proudly surprised. That was a rare occasion where I heard the captains repeat to their teammates what I told them. I appreciated their shared respect. The captains earned their title and set the benchmark for what a captain's role should be.

During a closely contested match, the score was posted as 15 -13 Macarthur over Southeast. The Southeast scorekeeper, during a time-out, came to the scorer's table and pointed out the score should be 16-13 for MacArthur. He showed the official scorer where the error was and said, "Just want to be honest."

Even in defeat at the Class 1A Soccer Regional tournament, the Blue Ridge coaches and team displayed excellent sportsmanship. It was extremely refreshing to see the coaches and team keep their composure throughout the entire game and even in defeat. Their attitude is fantastic and very refreshing.

Throughout the semifinal football contest #4, Donovan Smith from Sycamore, demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship. He was helping opposing players up off the ground every play. He also was seen helping his teammates maintain composure. He was very respectful towards game officials throughout. I was impressed by his attitude toward everyone involved in a very competitive, stressful contest.

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