As the recent Pop Warner football concussion fiasco confirmed, sportsmanship, even at the elementary-school level, is in short supply.
Winning at all costs has become the mantra of sports -- from Pop Warner to the pros.
So it's refreshing to see examples of good sportsmanship and community service by the Dracut High School sports and cheerleading teams recognized by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. The school's exemplary on-field sportsmanship and off-field service earned it the Sportsmanship Award among the 60 high schools that comprise the MIAA's District A.
And while all the teams are being honored for the many fundraisers they held in town to help fight cancer, donate food to the needy and raise youngsters' self-esteem, sometimes it's the little examples of kindness that hit home.
One came in a note to Dracut Superintendent of Schools Steve Stone from the mother of a Woburn High School cheerleader, whose daughter was injured in a recent competition involving Dracut and other squads. She praised the Dracut team members for their kindness and encouragement in the face of this setback for the Woburn team.
Though this act of compassion had no bearing on the school's award, it demonstrates what the true meaning of sportsmanship is all about.
So we salute Superintendent Stone, Athletic Director Tim Woods, the coaches -- and especially the athletes -- who made this award possible.
Specifically, come January, a number of federal tax breaks are due to expire, and $1.2 trillion in budget cuts spread over nine years will go into effect unless the lame-duck legislators can find common ground.
Aside from higher individual taxes, a general economic contraction is the most likely result if no accord is reached.
More concrete evidence of what we can expect came Wednesday from Jay Gonzalez, the state's secretary of Administration and Finance, who told municipal officials at a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission that congressional gridlock could cost the state up to $300 million this fiscal year and $1 billion over the next full fiscal year.
So this fiscal disaster is more than an intellectual exercise; it's something that will affect all of us.