A Triopia sports leader is reminding all fans to behave at area sports contests.
Adam Dean, Superintendent of Triopia schools, made fan behavior the subject of his monthly newsletter for December. The communication gained a lot of attention via multiple shares on social media since it’s release on Sunday.
Although Dean says in the letter that he feels Triopia has some of the best acting fans around, some in the area took the letter as a singling out of of Triopia fans, which Dean says was not his message at all.
“Every month I put out a new newsletter just on a topic I think is important to talk about. In October I talked about appreciation for our principals, I talked about inclement weather last month and on why we call snow days. I was originally going to talk about the tax levy, but I thought that might be a bit boring for everyone.
So since we are moving to the basketball season, winter sports season, I thought it would be a good reminder on how we should act and behave at ball games, in regard to how we treat officials, and how we treat our coaches. It is easy to get caught up in the moment. I’m a competitive person and I want our teams to succeed too, but the letter was meant as a general reach out to all fans of all schools, not just necessarily ours.”
Dean reiterated his feelings that Triopia fans are very respectful while being very passionate about their team support, but that a gentle reminder for all fans is is a good practice going into a new season.
“I’m very lucky to be at a school that is very respectful of our officials and our coaches. But just like any school, we have had incidents. I have been here seven years and there are times when a reminder is needed. Especially with our team playoff runs last year, our support was amazing. But I think a general reminder is always good for our fans and just everyone.”
Dean says that the rise of social media has had both pros and cons when it comes to local sporting events. During the deep runs that several Triopia teams made in playoff races last season, Dean said fans as far away as Florida were able to watch games shared on Facebook live.
But social media can also make for a platform that at times can be all too easy for some to comment or criticize officials or coaches. Both of which are positions that are seeing a decrease in the number of active individuals taking part, which is causing difficulty in some areas of the state for schools to hold games due to a lack of officials, or personnel willing to coach teams.
Dean says it just comes down to respecting the game and those who take part in sports no matter what the role, or call that is made.
“I see myself doing that, I think as becoming an administrator and seeing the other side of this and what it leads to, I think it has led me to become a better fan, and I just hope that when people are in the stands they take a deep breath, and I think I said that in my letter, and realize that officials are humans and the game happens pretty quick and especially in high school, since we do not have replay to go back and correct the calls. So just remember the coaches are doing the best they can with the information and experience they have. I think it is best that we respect our coaches and our officials.”
Dean says that the IHSA reaches out to schools each year for suggestions of potential student athletes that may have an interest in becoming an official after their high school athletic career is over.
The IHSA will at times wave the fees associated with becoming an official to help encourage the recent graduates to move from ball handling, to handling the referee’s whistle. Dean says that the IHSA also regularly sends out reminders promoting good sportsmanship from both teams and fans throughout the state.