Win with Humility, Lose with Class

Incidents at yesterday's WPIAL semifinal baseball match should prompt us to reflect on the true purpose of sports

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Win with Humility, Lose with Class

photo courtesy of NA Athletics

photo courtesy of NA Athletics

photo courtesy of NA Athletics

Evan Diulus, Contributing Writer

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“Win With Humility, Lose With Class.” I have been taught this saying ever since I started playing sports, from basketball to baseball to golf. Yes, golf.

One problem many young athletes face in high school is letting their egos get the best of them or thinking it is okay to do or say certain things to opposing players or their fans.

From my experience, the athletics here at NA are held to a very high standard. While the only varsity sport I ever played at North Allegheny was golf, our team always enjoyed playing together and meeting players from other schools and trying our best, in hopes of winning a WPIAL championship. While that never worked out, we were always enjoying the journey, and we were always showing respect towards the other players, the coaches, and ourselves.

Every other sport that I have seen play here does the same thing. You will occasionally hear about the chirping happening between players on the ice or the football field, but no one is ever disrespectful in ways that could be seen as classless.

Unfortunately, I witnessed classless acts yesterday, Wednesday, May 22nd, at Fox Chapel High School, when the NA Baseball Team took on the Penn-Trafford Warriors in a WPIAL semi-final matchup.

It does not matter if you are the best team in the state or if you are just an average team pulling off a major upset. No matter what the circumstances are, you always show class and never let your ego get the best of you.”

Penn-Trafford started to gain some momentum, and before we knew it, they took the lead, 2-1. The score did not bother me at all. What got to me was the way that Penn-Trafford was acting. Sometimes student sections will come to games, get rowdy, and even heckle some players.  However, the heckling was not performed by the Penn Trafford Student Section. This was an act by the players themselves, who were screaming like they were on a playground, making extremely obnoxious and annoying sounds every time Ryan Partridge tried to throw the ball across the plate. At one point, CJ Weller, the catcher, was trying to throw the ball back to Partridge after Penn-Trafford had made it 5-2 after some errors and an inside-the-park home run. The whole team came out and swarmed their player, all the while messing with Weller while he was trying to get the ball back to the pitcher.

There is a difference between being excited and having fun and being rude and disrespectful. The Penn-Trafford Baseball Team was disrespectful. From about the third or fourth inning to the end of the game, the screaming never stopped and it only got worse.

What angered me the most was that not a single coach or parent from Penn-Trafford had anything to say for what was happening, which must mean they were okay with how their players, or sons, were acting. Yelling “We Are!” at a pitcher to try to get under his skin because he is going to Penn State is not something you should be doing as a player on the opposing team. Screaming “this is a slaughter” is not something that should be said by a player sitting in the dugout. When a player is hurt, you shouldn’t be yelling, “All day, baby!” while that player is being checked by coaches to make sure he’s fine.

It is truly awful to see how sportsmanship has deteriorated. It shows immaturity and suggests that some people were not raised to be respectful. Our parents, our students, and I, too, were disgusted at what was said. Penn-Trafford may have been the better team on the field, but their acts during the game made me lose all the respect I could possibly have had for them after they routed NA, 7-2. It does not matter if you are the best team in the state or if you are just an average team pulling off a major upset. No matter what the circumstances are, you must always show class and never let your ego get the best of you.

I do not know much about Penn-Trafford, and I am not sure if anything will be done about their actions, but I hope nobody has to hear what I heard when I was just trying to watch a game of high school baseball.

If I learned one thing from this experience, it is to be glad that I went to North Allegheny because it taught me how to act, whether we are winning or losing.