Written by 6:12 am Uncategorized

High school track world basks in a display of honor within its sport

Sabrina Tsim thinks Derek Herber’s actions last weekend spoke volumes about the man, but also about the sport.

Whether Herber’s display of honesty and sportsmanship is the norm in track cannot be proven, but the North Attleboro High history teacher and boys track coach has shined a welcome light on a sport that receives headlines only on special occasions.

“I do think what he did is what other track coaches would have done. It’s what I would have done,” said Tsim, the girls track coach at Science Technology High in Springfield.

Herber became a local celebrity and role model just by telling the truth. A scoring error in one event had mistakenly placed North Attleboro first in the Eastern Mass. Division II meet.

Herber discovered the error the next day. No one else seemed to notice, so had he said nothing, North Attleboro would have held onto the title.

Instead, he reported the mistake. The corrected scoring left North Attleboro in third, with Central Catholic and Woburn moving up.

Every coach in every youth and high school sport should take a moment and ask themselves if they would have done what Herber did. If many were honest with themselves, they would say no or that they don’t know, but it would give them a chance to remind themselves that if they ever did face the test, the answer should be yes.

Tsim thinks in track, it would be.

“That’s one thing I like about our sport and our (coaches) association. We are dedicated to teaching sportsmanship and honesty in addition to winning, and it’s obvious he feels that way, too,” she said.

The episode has left Herber as a humble hero and an example of what high school sports are supposed to be about.

Are they? Tsim says in track, honesty is its own reward.

“I’m not saying you don’t see it in other sports,” she said. “But I do think you might see more of it in track.”

Not every sport lends itself to the situation Herber faced. Snafus can occur in individual sports that keep team scores (track, swimming and gymnastics among them), but the big meets are closely supervised and mistakes are rare.

Team sports require a different form of honesty. If a basketball player commits his fifth foul but the scoring table mistakenly has him for four, is it the player’s or his coach’s responsibility to ‘fess up? How many would?

Guillermo Godreau-Rivera thinks track athletes would want their coach to do what Herber did.

“I wouldn’t want to cheat my way into a title. Running people don’t do that – they don’t want to win that way,” said Godreau-Rivera, a Holyoke High distance runner who graduated this spring.

Such honor is often associated with golf, where rules are rules and bending them is considered an absolute no-no – even if the offending party can get away with it.

That Herber is receiving such regional and even national attention is precisely because we do not take for granted what Tsim thinks is the norm, at least in track.

I highly doubt that every coach in high school sports would react as he did. Maybe most would, or maybe not.

Let’s just appreciate one coach who knew why we was in the business, and passed a test he could have easily skipped. And let’s remind all coaches and athletes that honesty might be its own reward, but it’s also something refreshing and much-needed in amateur sports – whether it’s the exception or the norm.

Visited 3 times, 1 visit(s) today