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Trying to make them good sports

DELRAN - Back to school also means back to school sports.
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DELRAN - Back to school also means back to school sports.

And parents of Delran High School athletes are encouraged to come out for the first "Meet the Coaches" on Thursday night.

The program will be held in the high school cafeteria from 6 to 7.

Athletic director Andrew Estrada said the idea is to spread the word about what is expected of the athletes and the supporters of the school teams.

"I always felt that if I ever became an athletic director, this would be something we would do," said Estrada, who was hired last year. "It seems to me to be a good way to kick off the season on a good note."

In addition to introducing the fall coaches, the program will cover topics such as sportsmanship, communication, parental support and athletic training.

There also will be special breakout sessions for each fall sport that will include team rules, contact lists, and coaches' expectations for the players and supporters.

"The big thing is the communication, being proactive about what's expected of the athletes, the parents (and other high school team supporters)," Estrada said.

He said the community has been a great supporter of high school sports over the years, but the athletic department felt it would be a good idea to reinforce the importance of sportsmanship.

"We're going to talk about positive cheering on of all players, not just your own," Estrada said.

And for those who don't get the sportsmanship message, there are some consequences.

"People need to realize that it's a privilege to attend a high school sporting event - it's not a right," Estrada said.

He said fans need to know that an official can eject an unruly fan, or even clear out an entire stadium and have the athletes play without anyone watching if supporters get out of hand.

The athletic department is working on a 20-page handbook that it hopes to distribute later this year.

As for the "Meet the Coaches" program, Estrada envisions Thursday's session will be the first of many.

"We hope to do this for every season," he said.

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