Out Here in Left Field

Published 1:18 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It seems like every year I write at least one column about sportsmanship.

In teaching my children about sports, it has been a big thing with me. The oldest one plays soccer and football and I’ve tried my best to teach him to be a gracious winner and a good sport when he loses.

I believe that regardless of the outcome, players and coaches have an obligation to be good sports. And, while I’ve griped and complained many times about the sportsmanship shown locally, I have also seen some of the best good sportsmanship has to offer.

I believe if you’re going to point out the negative, you have an obligation to also point out the positive and there’s a lot of that in this area.

Perhaps no one has had more success than Lawrence Academy Head Baseball Coach Robert Kravitz. As of this writing (Wednesday), Coach Kravitz and his team have reached the Final Four and is preparing to defend their three straight NCISAA baseball crowns.

In his years at the helm of a very successful program, Kravitz has had many opportunities to score as many runs as possible. There have been games when he honestly could have scored 50 to 100 runs if he had chosen to do so.

As an example of how he has chosen not to do that, Kravitz has played his second team against some of those lesser quality schools over the past several years. Instead of starting his top players, he gave them a day off and let the other kids have the opportunity to take the field.

On some occasions he has even allowed Assistant Coach Jacob Harrell to run the team and thereby get experience for when he takes over a baseball program.

Lawrence Academy and the entire Tarheel Independent Conference should be thankful to have a quality representative like Robert Kravitz.

Hertford County High School’s Scott Privott is another example of someone who teaches and shows good sportsmanship.

In his two-year stint with the Bears, he has had ample opportunity to run up the score should he choose, but has never done so. He has also been the first one on his sideline preaching good behavior and sportsmanship to his team.

Building a program with a reputation for class doesn’t just happen, it takes work and its obvious Coach Privott is willing to put in that work.

Another local football program that shows a lot of class is at Gates County High School. Head Coach Matt Biggy has stressed that particular lesson in his four years at the school and it has paid off.

In running to a remarkable 10-1 regular season, Biggy and his team always knew how to win. They did so by giving all they had and keeping their mouths shut. They were a  pleasure to watch.

These three coaches are just part of the group of local skippers who have stressed sportsmanship over a period of time. There are many, many others who have done well and deserve praise.

If your child plays for a coach that stresses playing the game the right way and conducting themselves as quality young men and women be thankful. In fact, be more than thankful, be verbal in your thanks. They deserve the credit.

Thadd White is Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com.