Monday, March 28, 2011


Sioux City East - Headliners!
Being a good sport is a something that can be difficult to learn, but obviously not impossible. At every competition in every sport all around the globe there are individual participants and teams that are gracious as winners and losers. It is important to have skills on both sides of the coin - a bad winner is just as bad as a poor loser.

Personally I find it very difficult to deal with people who show poor sportsmanship. It makes me want to throw a fit when people feel it necessary to boo at sporting events. I think it shows a great lack of class. In our area of competition it makes my blood boil to have people not applaud for teams that are not theirs. Every kid on stage has put countless hours of blood, sweat and tears into their performance and every pair of hands in the audience should be applauding their efforts, regardless of whether it is a competing team or your own.

Our school attended the last local Show Choir competition this weekend. I know show choir is not prevalent everywhere, but I can tell you that I have never seen more dedicated, more talented kids than show choir kids. I have seen some impressive acts of sportsmanship and compassion at almost every competition and this weekend was no exception.

Let me provide you with a quick run-down of a show choir competition for those not familiar. There are two stages of competition in show choir, all the teams compete during the day. Late in the afternoon is an awards ceremony and awards go out for each daytime division winner, the best band, and the best male and female soloist within a choir. After these awards are given the five teams that scored highest during the day move on to the evening finals competition and perform again. The winning team at finals is crowned Grand Champion, the remaining teams are ranked as 1st-4th runner up.

A show choir day is a very long day. Some students (and parents) can be up close to 24 hours on a show day. To perform with such amazing power and energy -- often twice --on very little sleep never ceases to impress me.

This weekend was the last competition for many students, it is very difficult for Senior students when they realize that their show choir experience has come to an end. There is always tears involved. I do not look forward to the Saturday night two years from now when it will by my little senior having her last show. I am not sure which one of us will be crying harder. Anyway.... there was one young woman just crying and crying in the hallway outside the auditorium and many of the girls who stopped to talk to her weren't even from her school. It was very sweet. They showed her such tender compassion, I think each girl who offered her comfort could relate to how she felt, knowing that all of them would eventually experience the last show of their high school career.

Saturday afternoon when the best male vocalist was announced, the winner was from a rival school. His team, of course, went crazy cheering, but I was very proud to see a large number of students from our school standing and applauding for this well-deserving young man. This was not the first time I have seen this happen and it warms my heart so to see competing teams behave in a respectful manner toward one another.

When the awards for finals were announced late Saturday night, our team was placed rather unexpectedly in third place. Disappointing? Yes. Temper tantrum worthy? No. I was surprised to see some fans from several schools leaving before the Grand Champion was even announced. Even if it isn't your team you should stay and give the winner some props.

The team that got 2nd place was right across the aisle from where we were seated. My daughter, who was broken-hearted over her team's placement, walked across the aisle and offered her congratulations to several members of their team, even shaking hands with a girl she had been chatting with earlier in the day. She may have dissolved into tears later, but I was so incredibly proud of her for choosing to take the high road at a moment when I know it was a very difficult choice to make.

It is so easy for us to focus on the negative experiences and feel jaded about the world today. I could just of easily written about all the unfortunate things I have experienced in the competition arena. Honestly, the worst behavior I have seen has always been from parents and rarely from the kids. Embarrassing, but true.

If you are worried about kids today having little drive, focus, compassion or heart I am here to offer you hope. The show choir kids at East High School in Sioux City have given me great hope in the future of our world. These students have shown astounding work ethic, great team work, boundless spirit, grace under pressure and respect for their fellow competitors. I have come across several hundred more students at schools around the Midwest who are just as amazing. I think our future will be in good hands.

In His Peace -

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