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Sportsmanship

Posted: November 27, 2013 9:55 a.m.
Updated: November 29, 2013 5:00 a.m.

There won’t be many people in Kershaw County who’ll be neutral about the South Carolina-Clemson game Saturday, as both teams come into the rivalry ranked in the nation’s Top 10. It should be a great contest, with the entire nation watching. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney have been unusually complimentary of each other in the days leading up to the game, with both of them talking about how much they respect the other. In the past, there have been sharp words between the two, but everyone knows that part of that has been gamesmanship. A little edge to the rivalry helps ticket sales, after all.

But what is a bit troubling is what seems to be a growing trend of acrimony among high school coaches in the Palmetto State. Last week, when powers Byrnes and Lexington played, Byrnes led 56-21 when coach Bobby Bentley called time out so his team could score again, adding further embarrassment to an already-lopsided game. He later explained he called the timeout “to protect my players,” which is a bizarre statement in itself. Later, the coach of another high school team accused his upcoming opponents of dodging them on the field during the regular season, and that led to more words between the coaches of those teams.

College sports, while most of us enjoy them, have gotten out of hand. But we’d like to think there’s still a modicum of teaching good sportsmanship involved in high school athletics. The two incidents above certainly don’t illustrate much in the way of sportsmanship, and the principals of those schools should sit down with the coaches and tell them to ease up.

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