Several weeks ago in the column, we detailed a series of sportsmanship summits that were to be held at the state's three universities.
Tagged "Pursuing Victory with Honor," the conferences were conducted to help high school and youth coaches uncover ways to promote both sportsmanship and character.
Funded by Josephson Institute which was founded by former high school coach Michael Josephson the conferences focused on six principles: responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness, respect, and citizenship.
One week ago,the first of the three summits was held on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson and featured Wildcat coach Lute Olson.
In attendance were Payson High School boys' basketball coach Randy Wilcox, assistant Greg Marrs and about 200 other state coaches.
Olson, who spoke for more than an hour, told the coaches that the taunting, individual celebrations, disrespect and cheap shots we see today in professional sports, is simply an attention getter if the athlete is not good enough, he tries to get attention.
Olson also addressed the problem of parental concern regarding playing time. The legendary coach said he refuses to get into any type of discussion with parents on the issue because it always turns into a no-win situation.
"Realism for parents is a difficult thing," Olson said.
The Wildcat coach also told those in attendance that he tells parents that as soon as they have concern for the other 12 players on the team, besides their son, to call him back and he'll talk.
Following Olson's speech, four other Arizona coaches spoke on every subject from parental misconduct to the importance of instilling ethics, sportsmanship and character in athletes.
Today's young athletes are constantly exposed usually on TV to acts in which professional athletes disrespect their coaches, harangue officials, taunt their opponents and ridiculously celebrate individual feats.
The task of today's youth coaches, the summit concluded, is try to put an end to those types of destructive behaviors. The next summit is to be held Dec. 12 at Arizona State University.
Dome could be ready
Only a few weeks ago, it was doubtful PHS wrestling and basketball teams would be able to conduct pre-season practices in Wilson dome.
Ongoing construction to repair roof leaks and door overhangs that were beginning to sag led school officials to close the dome. Also, because of the sewer improvement project underneath the PHS track, water had been cut off to the dome.
PHS Athletic Director Dave Bradley says it now looks like the winter sports team will be able to soon use the facility. The AD expects the dome's roof problems to be corrected. but it might be a while before water service is restored. Athletes practicing in the dome this week might have to bring water bottles and use restrooms in other school buildings, Bradley said.
Preseason practices in the winter sports began yesterday (Monday) afternoon.