Chip Shots: Two-Headed Thoughts

June 1, 2024 at 8:00 a.m.


My weekend thoughts take the form of a two-headed life form:
Well-wishes for graduating athletes unable to attend last night’s Warsaw Community High School commencement, and my thoughts on blaming officials for losing in competition.
It has been quite a 2023-2024 scholastic sports year in the area, and the Warsaw Tigers boys’ and girls’ track and field teams who will be competing on the Indiana University Bloomington campus oval and pits will have some seniors who were honored Wednesday in a smaller graduation ceremony.
Warsaw Community High School is faced with this commencement/state track and field meet challenge each year. It’s wonderful to see the school accommodate these athletes with the commencement experience on a smaller scale.
The track and field seniors, in fact, are getting a taste of how future accomplishments will likely be celebrated in smaller groups now that they are moving on to post-secondary education, technical training, or even straight into their jobs.
Among each of those three areas, the groups honoring them will be smaller in gathering size, more specific in their scope of interest, or the laurels will come in the form of a letter or a small spot in a company newsletter or clips sent to their hometown papers.
To these hardworking competitors I say, enjoy the big crowd in Bloomington. If you pursue collegiate athletics – depending on the university size, or your choice of sport’s following, The crowds will go from a few thousand to a few hundred. The experience is still special, and the smaller group will end up as an opportunity to cultivate closer connections than you could have imagined, some in the form of lifelong bonds.
You get to experience the transition from high school, where your profile and visibility tends to be at its highest levels, to adulthood, where although your exposure to the public decreases, but your life will still reap great rewards.
In some ways, you’ll come to love the smaller audience because the growth shifts toward a greater bank balance in your personal accounts.
Warsaw and Wawasee athletes have some viable opportunities to stand on the podium this weekend in Bloomington. Best wishes to each participating athlete.
The other head of the life form takes a look at something less rosy, but still interesting to bear in mind, especially as young athletes travel around the Midwest for competitive summer sports chick full of officials and umpires combined with seasoned resumes and newcomers using summer competition to apply their newly learned skills.
Can anyone show me an example of an athletic team’s program where there was continued success, or any success for that matter, when they blamed any or all losses on the officials, or a rigged system?
I’ll be astonished if anyone can present an example to me.
Whining and losing go hand in hand.
August 31, 2018, Warsaw’s football team lost by a field goal in overtime to archrival Plymouth on a kick some people believe, and some folks showed photos trying to prove as well, that the Rockies’ game-winning, overtime kick sailed wide left.
Tiger head coach Bart Curtis did not dignify this burning platform issue with any type of projection, blame, nor did he and his Tigers play the victim. Warsaw moved on to win five of its next six games and give Penn a run for its money in a 16-7 sectional loss in Curtis’s first season at Warsaw.
The program approach to this day is to evaluate wins and losses and work the following week on everything the Tiger football team can control. “We worry about us” to paraphrase this mindset, is what players and coaches who were part of Tiger football said then, they still say now, and under the previous head coach, Phil Jensen, also thought and did to prepare for the following week’s opponent.
You can see, in Tiger football in particular, an incredibly positive rapport with officials in general when you take a closer look. Coach Curtis is a certified IHSAA official in wrestling. He has an official’s perspective. Warsaw has in recent years hosted a pro-pad four-team scrimmage for a lab setting used to give football officials clinic credit.
The Tigers, since the alleged “wide left” moment, have posted 46 wins and 16 losses, captured two conference titles, and added its first ever sectional trophy to the abundance of hardware garnered among other Warsaw athletic programs.
They chose winning over whining.
Fans tend to know less about Xs and Os than the athletes and coaches on the field know, and they tend to grouse the most about officiating. Teams whose fate changed from an official’s alleged questionable call can still build a winning program, and they can keep disappointed fans in a forward-looking mindset by how the team performs on the field.
Enjoy the competition awaiting you this summer, and I hope you stay focused on improving skills and strategies instead of rating or berating officials.

My weekend thoughts take the form of a two-headed life form:
Well-wishes for graduating athletes unable to attend last night’s Warsaw Community High School commencement, and my thoughts on blaming officials for losing in competition.
It has been quite a 2023-2024 scholastic sports year in the area, and the Warsaw Tigers boys’ and girls’ track and field teams who will be competing on the Indiana University Bloomington campus oval and pits will have some seniors who were honored Wednesday in a smaller graduation ceremony.
Warsaw Community High School is faced with this commencement/state track and field meet challenge each year. It’s wonderful to see the school accommodate these athletes with the commencement experience on a smaller scale.
The track and field seniors, in fact, are getting a taste of how future accomplishments will likely be celebrated in smaller groups now that they are moving on to post-secondary education, technical training, or even straight into their jobs.
Among each of those three areas, the groups honoring them will be smaller in gathering size, more specific in their scope of interest, or the laurels will come in the form of a letter or a small spot in a company newsletter or clips sent to their hometown papers.
To these hardworking competitors I say, enjoy the big crowd in Bloomington. If you pursue collegiate athletics – depending on the university size, or your choice of sport’s following, The crowds will go from a few thousand to a few hundred. The experience is still special, and the smaller group will end up as an opportunity to cultivate closer connections than you could have imagined, some in the form of lifelong bonds.
You get to experience the transition from high school, where your profile and visibility tends to be at its highest levels, to adulthood, where although your exposure to the public decreases, but your life will still reap great rewards.
In some ways, you’ll come to love the smaller audience because the growth shifts toward a greater bank balance in your personal accounts.
Warsaw and Wawasee athletes have some viable opportunities to stand on the podium this weekend in Bloomington. Best wishes to each participating athlete.
The other head of the life form takes a look at something less rosy, but still interesting to bear in mind, especially as young athletes travel around the Midwest for competitive summer sports chick full of officials and umpires combined with seasoned resumes and newcomers using summer competition to apply their newly learned skills.
Can anyone show me an example of an athletic team’s program where there was continued success, or any success for that matter, when they blamed any or all losses on the officials, or a rigged system?
I’ll be astonished if anyone can present an example to me.
Whining and losing go hand in hand.
August 31, 2018, Warsaw’s football team lost by a field goal in overtime to archrival Plymouth on a kick some people believe, and some folks showed photos trying to prove as well, that the Rockies’ game-winning, overtime kick sailed wide left.
Tiger head coach Bart Curtis did not dignify this burning platform issue with any type of projection, blame, nor did he and his Tigers play the victim. Warsaw moved on to win five of its next six games and give Penn a run for its money in a 16-7 sectional loss in Curtis’s first season at Warsaw.
The program approach to this day is to evaluate wins and losses and work the following week on everything the Tiger football team can control. “We worry about us” to paraphrase this mindset, is what players and coaches who were part of Tiger football said then, they still say now, and under the previous head coach, Phil Jensen, also thought and did to prepare for the following week’s opponent.
You can see, in Tiger football in particular, an incredibly positive rapport with officials in general when you take a closer look. Coach Curtis is a certified IHSAA official in wrestling. He has an official’s perspective. Warsaw has in recent years hosted a pro-pad four-team scrimmage for a lab setting used to give football officials clinic credit.
The Tigers, since the alleged “wide left” moment, have posted 46 wins and 16 losses, captured two conference titles, and added its first ever sectional trophy to the abundance of hardware garnered among other Warsaw athletic programs.
They chose winning over whining.
Fans tend to know less about Xs and Os than the athletes and coaches on the field know, and they tend to grouse the most about officiating. Teams whose fate changed from an official’s alleged questionable call can still build a winning program, and they can keep disappointed fans in a forward-looking mindset by how the team performs on the field.
Enjoy the competition awaiting you this summer, and I hope you stay focused on improving skills and strategies instead of rating or berating officials.

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