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June 27, 2011 | Volume 86, Number 18

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– Necrology

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COMMENTARY

Good sportsmanship

Competition in sports and athletic events is a good and wholesome activity. In any team sport or competition, it’s obvious that both sides want to win.

But when a team wins, another team loses. The winner can be proud of the accomplishment but should not gloat. The team or player who loses is no doubt disappointed, but life goes on. There is likely another game or competition at which they can try again. It should be about sportsmanship and doing one’s best.

It’s only natural that parents want their kids to win as well. Some share in their child’s disappointment when he or she loses or perhaps doesn’t get to play in the game.

But a Long Island, N.Y. mother was way over the top when she wrote threatening messages to the principal and coach when her son didn’t make the Little League team. Police were alerted and shown the disturbing messages and then promptly arrested her.

Janet Chiauzzi, 44, is charged with writing six letters to the Little League “attempting to defame the victim and force his removal as an official,” according to police.

She also wrote letters to the coach threatening physical violence against his wife and daughter and a letter to the principal claiming the coach was sexually abusing his children, both of whom are under 14. The Nassau County Child Protective Services investigated the charge and found nothing of the sort was happening.

In one threatening letter she wrote “You’ll be rotting in Hell soon.”

This venom spewed out all because of Ms. Chiauzzi’s rage because her son had not been selected for the Little League team.

Now she has been charged with stalking, falsely reporting an incident, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault.

This lack of self-control and hostility is a disgrace. Kids who want to participate in athletics don’t always make the A-team. And even when they do, their team sometimes loses. Parents and siblings need to show support and interest, but to get carried away and plot deceptive lies and threaten bodily harm is unethical and illegal.

The whole nasty scene is a reminder that parents, coaches and the team members themselves need to remind themselves that winning the game isn’t everything. Good sportsmanship is the winner.

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