High school athletes get sportsmanship tips

OREGON, Wis (WMTV) -- Badger Conference high school athletes received game-day tips at the Sportsmanship Summit on Wednesday at Oregon High School.

Ben Florencio, Baraboo High School Athlete, listened to the lessons and said the way you act on the field is contagious.

"We're all high school athletes trying as hard as can to do our best," he said.

Sports take out a big chunk of Florencio’s schedule.

"I play football, I'm a wrestler and I run track in the spring," he said.

He said winning is always the goal, but treating the other players with respect is at the top of his list.

“It's important to realize your other team is just like you and when you disrespect them it’s like disrespecting yourself," he said.

Florencio along with dozens of other student athletes in the Badger Conference listened to good behavior tips at the summit.

Panelists encouraged students to be kind, respectful and inclusive even when things go south.

Ben said his football team at Baraboo High School tries to practice these principles at every game.

"Especially if there’s a bad call they always used to say ‘park it’ like you can handle it, but just park it for now and revisit it after the game," he said.

It's not just about how the players act, the spectators' behavior has consequences. Sports officials said there’s a shortage in officials to officiate Friday night games.

"The reason they [officials] cite is behavior of fans spectators and the abuse they face from them from a bad call and a missed call," Aaron May, Waunakee High School Athletic Director and event organizer said.

Game day behavior does not only affect the game.

"It can carry over onto the school day. It can carry over to people's image and self-worth," May said.

Florencio said the summit taught him it's not about the action, but the reaction. He said the best response is to let your game to the talking.

"Don't be negative toward the other team like targeting or being mad at the ref. Just turn it into something positive," Florencio said.