Wyoming Seminary has a well-rounded athletic program under the supervision of the Director of Athletics and a talented group of coaches. The school is proud that nearly eighty percent of the student body participates in organized interscholastic athletics. Our teams have been and remain very competitive in different leagues. School colors are blue and white, and athletes are called the Blue Knights.
The following Wyoming Seminary Athletic Code should be read carefully because the school’s philosophy and expectations are significantly different from those prevailing in some other levels of sports in North America. We are proud of Wyoming Seminary’s distinctive athletics philosophy and our expectations. All members of the Sem community should strive to fulfill the mission of the program.
ATHLETIC PROGRAM AND PHILOSOPHY
The Sem athletic program is intended to provide competition for skilled and committed athletes with opponents of comparable skill. Where numbers, facilities and league rules permit, coaches will make every attempt to keep all committed players who go out for a competitive sport on the squad. Being a member of a team does not, however, guarantee playing time. Coaches choose game players on the bases of skill level, physical condition, attitude, team loyalty, practice attendance, sportsmanship and coachability. Some coaches may also tend to honor a commitment to play athletes who have been faithful members of the team for several years. On JV teams, coaches will generally substitute more freely; but it has to be the coach’s judgment as to who plays when in any athletic contest.
It is expected that athletes will attend all practices and outside contests. Due to the school’s PIAA commitments in many sports and the difference between Sem’s and public high schools’ vacations, varsity athletic commitments can involve the sacrifice of some vacation time, and in some sports, weekend time.
Any athlete who must miss an athletic practice or contest for any reason must notify the coach as early as possible beforehand. Players who miss practices or games must realize that their absences may affect their amount of play time. Who plays, and how much, is, of necessity, the coach’s decision. Please refer to the Wyoming Seminary Athletic Code, with the following addendum for parents. Athletes at Wyoming Seminary are accountable to the Drug and Alcohol Policy included in the summer registration packet and reviewed by each coach at the beginning of the season.
• The Sem athlete respects coaches, captains and fellow players, as allies in a common endeavor to play well and win the game. While willing to offer constructive suggestion, no athlete undermines or “runs down” a fellow player or a coach. Coaches emphasize positive reinforcement and specific, constructive criticism. Fostering team morale and loyalty is a prime athletic virtue at Sem.
• Visiting teams, referees and spectators are respected as guests of the school. Baiting of opponents, spectators, or referees is totally unacceptable. Sem fans, including students, parents and friends and guests of the school, cheer for the Sem team, and not against – particularly in terms of any personal vilification – the other team.
• Decisions of game officials must be respected as honest attempts to enforce the mutually necessary rules of the game. Sem athletes understand and respect the rules of the game, and seek to gain no unfair or underhanded advantage by circumventing the rules.
• The athlete who is in control is an effective athlete. An athlete, coach or fan who loses his or her cool gives amusement and satisfaction to the opponent and can be an embarrassment to our team and school. Students, either on the field or in the stands may be subject to school discipline for flagrant breaches of decorum and sportsmanship which bring disrespect on the school.
• Wyoming Seminary’s philosophy in athletics, like that of any good independent school, is that athletics are part of education; winning is desirable, but losing can be educational and even a triumph when the team has given its best. Coaches, players, and fans are generous in victory and gracious in defeat.
ADDENDUM TO THE CODE FOR PARENTS
By the time a student at Sem is engaged in interscholastic competition, the athlete is most in need of perspective, generally positive reinforcement, and mature example from parents – not intense pressure, specific coaching or uncritical boosterism.
Except in very rare instances, Sem coaches, though they are professional educators rather than professional coaches, are more qualified than the parents to coach their son or daughter. And in the extremely rare instances where this may not be the case, it is the coach, not the parent, who has the overall responsibility for the team, while attempting to do the best by and for your student.
Not only is it extremely important that parents abide by the spirit of Sem’s Athletic Code above, but that they set a good example by such actions as applauding opponents’ good plays as well as our own teams'.
It is almost impossible for a parent to be the best judge of his or her student’s athletic ability and achievement. Parents inevitably tend either to give their own child an edge or to be too hard on them. The coach, for better or for worse, is a necessary objective arbiter.
Just as Wyoming Seminary encourages each student to be responsible for communicating with teachers, Sem athletes should take responsibility in approaching their coaches. In only the most exceptional circumstances is it appropriate for a parent to act as an intermediary or intercessor with a coach. Parents are certainly encouraged, however, to discuss serious concerns they have about any aspect of the Sem athletic program with the coach, the Director of Athletics, or, finally, the Dean.