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Ricardo Arguello's Prep Blitz: Respect for officials must start early

12:24 AM, May 13, 2013  |  Comments
Appleton East boys' basketball coach John Mielke says the foundation for respecting referees and officials must start at the youth level.
Appleton East boys' basketball coach John Mielke says the foundation for respecting referees and officials must start at the youth level.
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You are not going to find two more respected voices in their respective sports field as Kimberly baseball coach Ryan McGinnis and Appleton East boys' basketball coach John Mielke.

So it was a no-brainer when I picked their brains this past week when it came to the subject of what is definitely an alarming trend in this country: the lack of respect given to referees, umpires and officials and the sometimes violent outcomes that occur when that lack of respect comes from players, coaches and sometimes fans.

And for those on the field and floor in a coaching capacity, they have witnessed these unfortunate encounters first-hand.

"More emphasis needs to be put on how kids go about playing the game rather than the final outcome," McGinnis said. "Of course, everyone wants to win and how you win says a lot about you, but I believe that how you lose says more; how you prepare to compete and then how you compete says the most. There has to be an enjoyment of the competition and the process. If there is not, something is majorly flawed. Everyone has a job to do in every competition. Players need to play, coaches need to coach, fans need to be fans, and officials need to officiate. Each role needs to respect the other role and things are fine."

Through my nearly two decades of sports reporting, there is no doubt the vitriol has reached ridiculous levels at every stage of athletics, from youth to professional. There is more pressure than ever to win and parents, especially, are more vocal than ever before due to the increased money and time they invest in their athlete's sports endeavors.

But even in those instances, there needs to be proper respect given to those who officiate those games, from the youth leagues and beyond.

Mielke believes that respect toward officials must start at an early age.

"The foundation of respectful player attitudes toward officials is set at the youth level," he said. "Youth programs that don't emphasize respect values toward officials, teammates, opponents ... foster an environment of conflict that can be very difficult to change at the high school level.

"Our Appleton East players know, but more importantly accept, that any conversation between our team and an official needs to come through the coaching staff. Their understanding and acceptance of this principle is as much a byproduct of our youth program as it is anything we do or say at the high school level."

McGinnis agreed.

"By and large, the majority of people involved do their best to succeed at their respective job but, at times, people overstep their bounds and try to do someone else's job when it is not their right to do that," he said. "This typically brings about negative situations and that is unfortunate. Sports competition is a very emotional experience, but if kept in perspective and with a sense of respect for everyone and the jobs each person is trying to do, these emotions become part of the process and not part of the problem. In short, respect needs to be shown for each person and the job he or she is trying to do."

Things I liked from this past week

Looks like Neenah softball's Nicole Miller was going all beast mode in the second game of the Rockets' doubleheader sweep of Waunakee on Saturday. Her final line from that game: six-for-six at the plate with three doubles and four RBI. ... Speaking of the Rockets, the Neenah girls' soccer team got a very big win over Kettle Moraine, 2-0, on Saturday. Kettle Moraine had previously been ranked No. 1 in the state. ... Shout out to Waupaca goalie Josee Waitrovich for recording three consecutive shutouts in leading the Comets to the championship game of their own invite on Saturday. ... Also having a good weekend for the Comets was the baseball team, which swept Little Chute by the scores of 12-6 and 6-0 to take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Valley. ... Don't look now, but the Hortonville baseball team is in control of the Bay Conference after splitting with second-place West De Pere, losing 3-2 and winning 5-0 on Saturday. ... Lots of track props to hand out, so let's start with the amazing Bonnie Draxler of Wrightstown, who leads the area girls' performers with top spots in the 100 (12.83 seconds), 200 (26.34) as well as the state's top pole vault leap at 13 feet, five inches. ... Don't worry, Hilbert's Spencer Schulz, we have noticed that you have the top 200 time in the state (21.87). ... You too, Alex Bloom of Seymour in the high jump (6-8). ... Neenah's 3,200 relay team also has the state's top mark thus far with a 9:19.87. ... There are three Fox Valley Association softball teams in the top 10 rankings this past week, with Appleton East, Oshkosh West and Kimberly ranking sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. ... Kimberly's baseball team is also a powerhouse, ranking second overall in the latest Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association rankings.

Varsity Roundtable

Appleton North girls' soccer: Sami Lange and Meg Riebau pay us a visit on the big show to talk about their respective seasons and everything soccer on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at postcrescent.com.

Player profile

Connor Seiler, Appleton North boys' track: Thursday's edition in print and online. Connor talks about his standing as one of the top sprinters in the area, along with his favorites from athletes to the entertainment world.

Tweets of the week

"Yeah, I'm that girl that was walking around with the tag still on her shorts all day #trendsetter."- Appleton East softball player Leslie Kitten, @LESLIEKIT10

"I want to be exactly like my mother when I am older. A lot of buckwild and a scoop of soccer mom. Maybe I'll even wear visors #ble55ed." Xavier girls' soccer player Anna Sobal, @Babysobeslovin

- Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or rarguello@postcrescent.com; On Twitter @PCRicardo

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