When Brad Scavo speaks of sportsmanship, it’s more than lip service. That’s why Scavo, a senior at Father Gabriel Richard, is a driving force in the FGR Student Sportsmanship Council.
The Council works behind the scenes at FGR to promote sportsmanship through a variety of activities to support school athletics. But there are more than just special activities, according to Scavo.
“We stress good sportsmanship, cheering positively for our team and not doing any of that negative stuff about our opponent,” he said. “We are proud of how we support our teams and how we act in the stands is a reflection on Father Gabriel Richard.
“We want to promote a positive image.”
The club makes sure its own members are cheering in a positive manner, and part of its mission is also to ensure that the FGR student body does the same.
“We’ve never had a problem with that, and you might see some negative stuff by some schools, but to tell you the truth not much,” said Scavo, 17. “We’re proud of the positive attitude we reflect.”
FGR Athletic Director Mickey Redmond, who sponsors the Student Sponsorship Council, says the conduct of the members and the entire FGR student body is important for another reason.
“We want to live in a Christ-like manner, to engage our faith through sportsmanship into our athletic experience,” said Redmond, in his fourth year at FGR, and first year as Athletic Director. “We know people are watching, we want to show them kids with character, kids who are excited about their teams, yes, but kids who know how to cheer with good sportsmanship.”
Positive attitude is more than just an intangible concept; the FGR Student Sportsmanship Council plans activities throughout the year.
“Last year we did a lot of fun things that everyone seemed to like,” said Scavo, who is fully engaged in the SSC for much of the year, but is less active in the group on game days in the winter when he plays basketball. “There was the White Out, where everyone wore white, the Black Out, and a bunch of themes at games for people in the stands.
“We even had a Pink Out to raise awareness for breast cancer.”
One of the Student Sportsmanship Council’s primary activities is a fundraiser for Mott Children’s Hospital that is conducted every year. It’s called “Masquerade for Mott,” and it’s held during a game in December, after a period of fundraising. Last year, the opponent was Novi, which also participated in the fund-raising.
The SSC also works on an entry for “Battle of the Fans,” a statewide video contest that is run every year by the Michigan High School Athletic Association to promote student sportsmanship and fan interest in high school athletics.
Scavo calls working on the video one of the highlights of the club’s year.
“We really enjoy ‘Battle of the Fans,’ “ he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
This year’s video will be put on the MHSAA Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites and the public will vote on their favorite entry. The final decision on a “Battle of the Fans” winner is made by a 16-member Student Advisory Council. The Council bases its decision on positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, section leadership and overall fun.
It’s early in the school year, but the 2018 White Out already took place in a Sept. 7 football game. Like last year, and years before, there are plenty more activities in the works.
“We’re in the early stages,” Scavo said. “We just started having meetings, organizing, deciding who’s going to be doing what.”
It may be early, but never too early to stress good sportsmanship, says Scavo.
“It’s good for the athletes, it’s good for the fans, and it just makes your school a better place,” he said.