Wins, losses pale compared to sportsmanship

November 22, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

With every victory and every defeat in sports, or for that matter in anything else, there is a way to go about accepting the results.

In celebrating victory, you can be gracious, cordial and empathetic to the loser or, as is the case quite often, the individual or team realizing success has a way of simply flexing its achievement.

In suffering defeat, you can learn from accepting what you have been dealt. You accept it, learn from it, move on and try to become better from it.

Friday's Maryland playoff game between Boonsboro and Beall at Frostburg State University was a classic example of what goes on in competition these days.


Of course, there was the hard-hitting action. That produced numerous penalties on both teams, with a number of flags being tossed for unsportsmanlike conduct. Most were for taunting with one side getting flagged for retaliation, which is usually one that gets caught.

Athletic events too often these days have so many extracurricular sidelights, it takes away from the meaning of sportsmanship. Granted, tempers rise in the heat of battle, but too often these days it is common for scholastic athletes to follow what they see from their peers in college and the pros - taunt, verbally jab, fight ... you name it. There were even spectators on both sides who became too overheated (that's another story).

To step back a bit, Friday's meeting was the first time the two schools met on the gridiron since Boonsboro defeated Beall 7-6 in the 1993 playoffs.

But by the fourth period, it was evident Boonsboro's great season was going to come screeching to a halt. The Mountaineers were leading 22-7 as the seconds ticked down and suddenly, two directives became all too improper from Beall.

Beall lofted a pass for an unnecessary touchdown in the final minute on a direct call from the sidelines.

Then came what had to be a mandate from the Beall coaching staff as the clock hit zero.

Despite the result, the penalties and a untimely end of the season, the Warriors headed to the center of the field to exchange handshakes. At that point, the biggest yellow flag for unsportsmanlike conduct could not be thrown. Beall's football team immediately headed off the sidelines to the lockers, guilty of the biggest infraction of all.

No handshakes, no nothing. A classless act indeed!

Dare it be suggested that coach Roy DeVore was possibly getting some revenge against Boonsboro with the last touchdown? After all, he was the head coach when Beall lost to Clayton Anders in 1993. Probably so.

But, there was no measure of revenge gained by not extending hands with the Boonsboro players at the middle of the field. I wouldn't even want to hear from Beall that it "was a protective step against postgame altercations." I would only want to hear from them that it was a "senseless, careless, thoughtless" decision.

The fall sports season has become a "Carnival of County Champions." Congratulations are in order to Washington County state champions - the golf and girls soccer teams from Smithsburg, the volleyball and girls cross country teams from Williamsport and the boys cross country team from Clear Spring.

And, kudos are directed to assistant sports editor Andy Mason for his 17th-place finish in the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon Saturday, the best finish of any Washington County runner. Who says you can't have a beer and still run 50 miles (of course, not at the same time)?

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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