The PIAA requires its officials to read a statement on sportsmanship to team captains and coaches before each event, and many schools have taken that a step further, offering an announcement to the crowd reminding them that each person present has a job, and that those in the seats are to be supportive, not critical.
Sometimes, being a good sport is easy. Sometimes, it means a sacrifice. But the lesson of sportsmanship is worth it.
Twice in a matter of days, two Indian Valley athletes and their coaches made that ultimate sacrifice. On the basketball court, a player was taken out of a game because he lost his cool and acted in a way that coach Bob Sealy considered inappropriate. Some have attacked Sealy, claiming it cost his team a victory, perhaps a trip to the state tournament.
I can't say what would have happened in what everyone knew was going to be a close game. But I can tell you this: Sealy's action, in my opinion, deserves acclaim rather than derision. He obviously is the kind of man who will do what is right with the young charges who have been placed in his care, and teach them what it means to be responsible as well as productive.
In that same boat is Joe Daubert, the Warrior wrestling coach. When weather forced the District 6 Class AAA tournament to a single day, a situation was created whereby a State College wrestler would be in violation of PIAA rules had he tangled with Indian Valley's Mason Grove in a consolation final match, as it would have been the sixth of the day for the Little Lion.
Grove, and by extension, Daubert and Indian Valley, could have forced the opponent to forfeit, guaranteeing Grove a slot in the Northwest regional tournament. Daubert put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, asking what he would have wanted had his wrestler been in that difficult spot.
The choice was easy. They Warriors loaded up a van and went down to Penn State the next day - where the State High grappler won a one-bout tournament.
Was it hard to give up that automatic chance? No doubt. But Grove and company did unto others, and the long-term good will far outweigh the pain of that single loss.
I don't care what subject they teach in the classroom. Here's two guys who are giving Grade A lessons in life.
The next topic is: Will Juniata be part of District 6 next winter?
I was told that District 3, where the Indians compete now, has voted to release the school. Most likely, District 6 will accept the petition to join, and the Big Red will be in the west next fall.
I suspect that, like Lewistown, Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola, the Indians will opt to wrestle in Class AAA if they can, rather than in the crowded Class AA field. The big division already is gaining one team next season - Westmont Hilltop is going up due to population growth.
Overall, a move to District 6 should greatly benefit Juniata, which is already committed to the Mountain League.
Jeff Fishbein is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.