|UIL tells SSHS fans to cool their attitudes|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 3, 2005 -Sulphur Springs fans need to cool it.
At least cool their attitude toward officials and the opposing team, according to the University Interscholastic League.
UIL officials have conveyed that message to SSISD athletic director Dwayne McMeans after getting reports of misconduct "three or four times in the last month," McMeans said.
Sulphur Springs fan conduct has become a negative, resulting in a boys basketball game against Texas High being halted with over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter last month, and with a fan being arrested after approaching an official following the girls soccer game last week with Paris.
McMeans is urging Sulphur Springs fans to turn that attitude into a positive by encouraging the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats rather than complaining about officiating or directing comments toward the opposing coach or players.
"We've got a good support base. In fact, most of our games, whether in town or out of town, we have more fans than the other school," McMeans said. "The fans and parents and spectators are there to support the kids. I know the officials aren't always going to be right in the eyes of the coaches, kids, parents or anybody. But, we can't let that become a negative factor as far as the game is concerned. It's our job to build up and encourage.
"Kids are resilient. Kids are going to overcome a bad call or the call of an official, right or wrong. Kids will work through it, but if they continue to hear it over and over, it's going to start affecting them and start carrying over into the contest we're involved in and become part of the frame of mind. We need to be at the point where we'll building them up and not wearing them out."
More importantly, perhaps, is that the UIL can - and does - level sanctions against teams and schools who cross the line between spectating and involvement. The UIL is the governing body of high schools in Texas.
When anything out of the ordinary goes on in a contest - whether an official was verbally abused by spectators from the stands or whether they were physically abused - then the official can report that to the UIL. The UIL then can put that team on probation or prohibit it from playoff competition is the infraction is severe.
"Teams and schools do get put on probation by what goes on, sometimes not on the field but in the stands and other places," McMeans said. "We've had a couple of incidents here, coming not from the kids but from the spectators in the bleachers. We've got to be careful when we go to games to support our kids and not antagonize officials or coaches.
"I want to encourage the fans and spectators with the base that we have to be supportive and positive toward what's going on and help our kids out."