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Gosse releases first book in SCORE series to tackle poor sportsmanship

By Tori Wittenbrock

GREEN BAY – Bill Gosse, a Green Bay local, was raised in an athletic atmosphere that provided broad exposure to an abundance of experience in youth sports.

He has an extensive background in sports, playing football, golf and baseball.

Gosse also played collegiate basketball at Marquette University.

His personal experiences as an athlete, a youth sports coach, a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association official and as a parent have steered him into a career of advocacy for the betterment of sportsmanship in youth activities.

At the end of April, Gosse released the first book in his series, “SCORE (Sports Creates Opportunities to Respect and Encourage): A Guide to Supporting and Instilling Exceptional Sportsmanship.”

Gosse’s book was released at the end of April.

The series will consist of five books, each targeted at a specific audience that can make a difference in the role sportsmanship plays in youth sports.

The first book is geared toward parents and will be followed by target audiences of coaches, officials, athletes and fans.

Gosse began his journey as a proponent of good sportsmanship as a columnist and evolved into an author.

“It was an incredible blessing I didn’t expect,” he said.

Gosse said the moment that sparked his interest in this issue was when he received an issue of the Sheboygan Press Sunday edition with three stories on sportsmanship.

“There were articles about how parents are ruining the youth sports experience for kids,” he said. “I approached (the Sheboygan Press) and asked if they had thoughts about featuring a regular column on it, and unintentionally volunteered myself.”

Gosse next began writing a column for the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the importance of good sportsmanship – an endeavor that lasted 10 years and eventually evolved into a book deal.

Loyal readers began to send Gosse emails about his columns, and some asked about him writing a book because the columns related to parents, and they wanted to see them worked into the narrative of books.
Gosse has teamed up with Titletown Publishing to make this possibility a reality.

“I told Tracy Eartl (CEO of Titletown Publishing) I wanted to make a coffee table book and pick out my favorite hundred columns and put them in a book for dentists’ offices and waiting rooms,” Gosse said. “The first time I expressed that idea to her, she asked if I only wanted to sell 35 copies of my book.”

Gosse said that type of book is not very marketable, so that’s when the decision was made to create a series of five books, each written for a specific audience that has its own impact on sportsmanship.
Despite the various ways sports are evolving, one constant trend is the importance of good sportsmanship.

“I see a lot of lack of self-control and a failure to recognize that kids make mistakes,” Gosse said. “You learn so much from mistakes and experience. The problem is the stress impressed on the kids. No wonder so many kids drop out of sports before they are 18. To me, there is a lot of entitlement as well.”

Recent trends placing stress on coaches to see productive performances from their team for job security are also partly to blame for the correlation between extreme competitiveness and poor sportsmanship, Gosse said.

“Coaches are more concerned with winning, and it takes away the fun of the game,” he said. “It makes them feel more like a puppet than a player.”

The relevance of splitting the series into multiple books, each geared toward a different audience stems from the fact that each of these roles plays a significant part in the experience of the athlete.

“Coaches often micromanage, which causes stress and no patience,” Gosse said. “There is a snowball effect that starts with the parents and passes down to others. Eventually, nobody has fun.”

This is a universal trend and is growing rapidly.

“There isn’t much of a difference between boys’ and girls’ sports,” Gosse said. “My niece had a basketball tournament in Font du Lac, and there was a father in the stands screaming. The officials had to stop the game and go over and tell him, ‘Act like a father or I will have to ask you to leave.’ That made me think.”

The “SCORE” series is an important component of Gosse’s advocacy to change the culture of youth sports.
Along with his TeamScore Inc. initiative, which is a non-profit organization to create change in a parent’s approach to teaching their athletes about the value of good sportsmanship and how to conduct themselves while playing, Gosse said he’s hoping to make an impact.

“To me, it’s all about using sports to have fun,” he said. “The lessons sports teach us are important, and we can use the values we learn from sports every day.”

In his book, Gosse discusses how “it just doesn’t happen to win every game at every level.”
He said it’s important to learn how to lose a game without losing integrity or decency.
“I want to spread good seeds of sportsmanship,” Gosse said.

He places a large responsibility on his readers as well, stating, “If we follow through with our goals, the trends will stop. It’s a matter of having the courage to confront improper behavior.”

“My goal is to move toward gratitude and genuine parent support, rather than living vicariously through kids,” Gosse said. “This all comes from humility and patience. Good things are going on. We just have to learn how to channel them.”

Gosse recounts an especially impactful moment to him when he was officiating a football game and handed the ball to the kicker.

“The boy was in his senior year and was brought to tears,” he said. “He knew it might be his last kick. To me, that’s part of the value of sportsmanship – recognizing the value of those moments.”
Books are available for purchase for $19.95.

For more information, visit billgosse.com.

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