“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
Sports journalist Grantland Rice first said this famous quote in 1908, but it’s still relevant today. Good sportsmanship stems from how the team, school, and fans treat the athletes, coaches, and officials before, during, and after a tournament. We believe good sportsmanship makes the athletes true champions, which is why we’ve sponsored the WIAA Rural Mutual Sportsmanship Award for over 55 years.
We’re happy to congratulate the Newman Catholic High School Girls Volleyball Team on earning the Sportsmanship Award for the 2023-2024 season! When asked what winning this award meant to her as a coach, to the team, and to the community, Head Coach Betty Lange said:
“As a coach, it’s a feeling of deep fulfillment and pride. I’m proud of the team for stepping into the season and buying into the Newman Volleyball philosophy which puts sportsmanship at the forefront. I’m proud of the coaching staff for showing class and respect at every competition. We are coaches who have a deep appreciation for the game of volleyball. We cannot honor and respect the game without displaying exceptional sportsmanship. This award is an honor and means that we are doing right by the school, the players, and the community.
The team has set the standard, and the bar for sportsmanlike conduct is high. I think the team realizes the impact it has on the game of volleyball, as well as all the teams in the conference and beyond. It means they understand and will maintain the balance between respectful and humble conduct and their competitiveness and drive to win.
The community beams with pride to have a local school honored in this way. They see this as a huge accomplishment from a small private school. I think it excites them to be a part of something so special.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game, which is why it’s important to start teaching children about sportsmanship while they’re young. Good sportsmanship can help children develop values that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Coach Lange says she teaches her athletes by setting an example.
“As the saying goes, we coaches walk the walk and talk the talk. We also very clearly state the expectations for conduct in the Newman Catholic Volleyball handbook and refer to these directives as reminders throughout the season.”
On Coach Lange’s team and at Newman Catholic High School, they believe sportsmanship sets the foundation for lifelong values and contributes to the overall growth and development of individuals beyond the court. “It’s a vital part of showing respect for the game, and all involved. When players act disrespectfully, they are not honoring the game. This makes the competition unenjoyable to watch for fans, parents, coaches, teammates, and the opposing team.”
Coach Lange has been coaching volleyball for over 30 years! She first coached at Newman High School from 2008-2019 and qualified for the State Tournament every year except for one. She returned in 2022 and is so happy to be back! We asked if she had a favorite memory from this season. “Being in the gym every day with the group of players I had this season was a complete joy for me. They were such hard workers, and the support and love they had for each other was incredible. The joy on their faces when we won at sectional finals was priceless, which brought me so much happiness! Also, my favorite part was having the opportunity to coach with my daughter, Ashley. What a special season to end at the state tournament in the championship match. (Ashley was a state champion as a sophomore and made state appearances in her junior and senior years, so it was fun for her to be back as a coach). We are truly blessed to belong to such an awesome family at Newman Catholic.”
Congratulations to the Newman Catholic Girls Volleyball team on a great season and winning the WIAA/Rural Mutual Sportsmanship Award!