In his monthly address to his district, Triopia Superintendent Adam Dean recently took the time to remind fans about maintaining proper perspective in high school athletics.
Dean touches on the impact fans can have on officials at a time when officials numbers are decreasing, as well as the difficulties high school coaches can face as a result from overbearing parents.
Dean’s words are evergreen for any high school in Illinois, or around the country, and are shared below:
Dear Parents and Community Members:
Last year was a lot of fun for Triopia athletics. Our football team made the state quarterfinals, our girls’ basketball team made the Elite Eight, and our boys’ basketball team made it to the state tournament in Peoria. During this short six month span our athletes and coaches made memories to last a lifetime and made our communities proud. Our following was a sight to behold. I’ll never forget that sea of blue in different facilities. I’ll never forget where I was and who I was with during some spectacular moments, or the sense of pride I had during that time. I hope the feeling was the same for you.
Remembering how we felt during that memorable year, I think that is a nice segue into this month’s topic. According to the internet, to “keep things in perspective” means to take into consideration the true measure of importance or to think about a situation in a wise and reasonable way. As we move into the winter sports season, I hope we as a community “keep things in perspective” as we show up to the local gymnasium to watch our athletes participate.
Did you know that we are in the middle of a crisis, especially in rural parts in the state? Officials for athletic contests are getting harder and harder to find. This has led to some contests being moved or cancelled all together. According to the IHSA, between 2012 and 2017, there has been a decline of 11% of officials renewing their license. Statistics show that 80% of new officials give it up by their third year. As you show up to the gym this winter, keep this shrinking population in mind. And, if I may, if you are doing anything other than cheering on your team when you go to a game, take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. Not only are you embarrassing yourself and your neighbor, but you are probably embarrassing the team you are rooting for.
Coaching is a calling that many couldn’t handle. You take athletes at all different ability levels, put in countless hours and hope that your work and preparation are good enough to win at the end of the day. You build relationships with these athletes and hope that all is cohesive so that you have some success. You make decisions on playing time, which is a largely impossible task where someone is always unhappy. This is also while battling second guessing in the stands on why you made that call or chose that play. We’ve even received anonymous letters in the past regarding coaching decisions or hires! This is certainly not showing the ability to “keep things in perspective”. Please be supportive of these individuals.
With all of that being said, I would argue that we have some of the best fans in the area. The support our athletes and coaches receive is incredible. I just share all of this with you to let you know, when you get caught up in the heat of the moment and want to yell at an official, who is a human being, take a deep breath. If you want to bash a coach with other parents after a game, who has done everything they can to the best of their abilities, take a second and chill out.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all in the gym this winter and rooting on our boys, girls and coaches, and giving our officials the respect they deserve. Go Trojans!