Is Creek A Bad Sport?

Creek leaders hope students promote the legacy of excellence in the stands


Quinn Rudnick

Creek students hold up their flashlights at the 2022 Homecoming varsity football game.

Annabelle Crouch, Sports Editor & Design Manager

Signs reading “Jesus loves us for free” tower over the sea of blue and red at the state championship football game against Valor in Mile High stadium. Creek students scream “Daddy’s money” at the top of their lungs in an attempt to support their team.

Issues with sportsmanship at Creek peaked last year when the student section turned to hurtful chants damaging the school’s reputation. In an email to the school community in April, Principal Ryan Silva outlined that there were “cheers that were hurtful and, in some cases, had racial undertones.” For leaders across Creek, like Silva, Student Body President TJ Hubble, and Athletics Director Jason Wilkins, a need for change was evident. For Silva this began with an assessment of what sportsmanship means to him.

“It’s making sure that your focus is on supporting your team, and not focusing on bringing down the opponent,” he said.

The dialogue on the sidelines of any event is still a representation of the school, and Silva wants students to reflect Creek’s values.

“The way that we carry ourselves is a reflection of who we are, what we value, and just how we treat other people,” Silva said.

Amongst other plans, Creek is starting with adjusting seating arrangements at the basketball games so the student sections are not facing each other.

“Going into the basketball season, that is usually when you’re more likely to have issues because the students are in a much closer space,” Silva said. “And so you get students sections that will, I think, be more engaged with each other at times.”

Silva also relies on peer leaders to encourage a sense of support at athletic events.

“We have student leaders who are involved in wanting to be proactive and make sure that the focus is on our team, and also on supporting our athletes,” Silva said.

Students in the stands also make an attempt to support all aspects of Creek athletics.

“It’s disappointing to see upperclassmen starting the ‘Go Home Freshman’ chant at games,” senior Ellie Morris said. “There is so much disrespect in cheering for our own classmates to leave and stop supporting our team.”

Student athletes value sportsmanship in the stands and in the games.

“Sportsmanship is a big part of how I play,” senior Hank Zilinskas, a Varsity Football player, said. “I always respect my opponents and I want them to respect me.”

Poor sportsmanship not only impacts Creek but also other teams and even referees.

“Personally I thought the signs were disrespectful like ‘Jesus loves us for free’ and the ‘daddy’s money’ chants too,” Valor sophomore Chiara Gaibor said.

“One of the things that is told to us when officials do their surveys is that they’re tired of being yelled at by people in the stands or things of that nature,” Wilkins said. “When there are no officials, there are no games, so we try to make Creek a positive environment as best as we can.”

Athletic Director Jason Wilkins sees poor sportsmanship as self-sabotage when it comes to referee calls.

“They’re not going to give you the benefit of the doubt on calls, you’ve made yourself stick out,” Wilkins said. “If there’s a 50/50 call, you’re gonna get the wrong end of it.”

Through all attempts at eliminating poor sportsmanship at Creek, leaders see a change.

“It’s been much better this year,” Silva said. “Our students have been really responsive.”

With student leaders, awareness, and preventative measures in place the 2022-2023 school year sees a big improvement from last year.

“This year, we’ve been really working hard on just creating a positive environment in our students sections,” Hubble said.

Though Creek struggled, the issues with sportsmanship were by no means an anomaly. CHSAANOW released an article outlining how sportsmanship now extends to social media presences. Wilkins emphasizes that poor sportsmanship is not created in high school, it is nurtured from competition at a young age.

“I coach my five year old daughter at soccer, and I hear parents yelling negatively from the sideline. This is going on at age five, so I’m assuming it’s just continuing all the way through,” Wilkins said. “That’s ridiculous to me.”

Hubble acknowledges that while there may still be slip ups, Creek is working harder everyday to display good sportsmanship on the field, and in the student sections.

“Obviously, not everything is going to be perfect, but I do think that we can work towards living up to the legacy of excellence.”