By Kim Siebert MacPhail
In support of a policy approved by Selectmen and posted on the Recreation Department webpage regarding conduct on Bedford’s playing fields, signs are planned for the school/town campus and/or on the backstops of all baseball fields to reinforce the call for sportsman-like behavior.
The Violence Prevention Coalition, through out-going Selectman Cathy Cordes, has suggested the following draft wording for the signs:
Bedford is committed to respectful behavior from all involved in youth sports.
Unsafe or dangerous behavior should be brought to the coach, referee or umpire first and if unresolved referred directly to the Bedford Police Department. Problems which cannot be resolved at the personal or organizational level should be presented to the Recreation Director and, failing that, the Recreation Commission directly.
The sportsmanship policy itself has been adapted from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) sportsmanship manual and states:
[T]he Town of Bedford is committed to encouraging and promoting the high ideals of sportsmanship, integrity and ethics, as well as developing a safe, healthy and constructive environment for athletic events at all levels. Ingrained in this competition is respect for rules, regulations, opponents and officials. Good sportsmanship is conduct that imposes self-control involving honest rivalry, courteous relations and graceful acceptance of results. The ideals of good sportsmanship, ethical behavior, and integrity should be at the core of athletics in our community, regardless of level of play. Good sportsmanship shall be defined as qualities of behavior characterized by generosity and genuine concern for others.
The policy goes on to identify behaviors that are acceptable as well as those that are considered unacceptable, and articulates the pathway to follow to resolve questions or concerns about sports-related matters.
Cordes said, as she passed along the draft of the sign’s language, that she hoped the Selectmen would see to it that the process to finalize the signs would be completed after she steps down next Saturday.
“I know that the Violence Prevention Coalition is going to ask whoever replaces me [about this], first thing,” Cordes said. “I think [what you’ll need] is approval of the language and then direction to the DPW to post the signs. If the signs are posted at the football complex area, you’ll need to go through School Committee as well.”
To read the sportsmanship policy in its entirety, visit: https://www.bedfordma.gov/index.php/field-permits and click on “Town Recreation Sportsmanship Policy.”