Being a long-time sports editor at the Observer, I’ve enjoyed countless games and matches involving the city’s high school teams.

Observer Sports Editor Gary Herron

I fondly remember the New Mexico Activities Association’s mantra, “Compete with Class,” and I’ve always contended that the players and coaches “get it.”

Unfortunately, the fans – parents and schoolmates – lack what I call sportsmanship — good sportsmanship, primarily.

One of the best examples of sportsmanship this school year came before the Organ Mountain-Rio Rancho football game on Sept. 9, the Rams’ Homecoming game.

Knowing one of the opposing players had collapsed in an Aug. 26 victory at Deming – he would succumb to his injuries after having been in a coma – the Rams’ captains handed a football bearing the words “Get well” to the Organ Mountain captains, who carried a banner bearing their teammate’s name, Abraham Romero, and his number, 22.

It was a sad moment before what should have been a happy occasion – teenagers playing a game they loved, as Romero had been doing at the time he collapsed.

“We’re playing for something bigger than football,” Rams co-captain Chris Montoya, Jr. said.

It was one of the proudest moments of my 22-year association with Rio Rancho High School. When I later passed Montoya on the sideline, I old him, “Good job out there.” He knew what I meant.

Rotation 180 degrees to one of my least-favorite moments of my 14-year association with Cleveland High School, toward the late going of the Storm’s 33-29 victory over La Cueva at Wilson Stadium on Aug. 26.

It was a hard-fought, 33-29, Storm victory, which should have been enough to cheer.

Instead, there was more jeering, with more than a few Storm fans in the front rows of the east bleachers chanting, “F— La Cueva.”

Rio Rancho Public Schools Executive Director of Athletics Bruce Carver and Cleveland Principal Scott Affentranger were not happy about any of that, nor probably any other CHS administrators..

I remembered a decade or so ago, when La Cueva fans would call City of Vision teams “Rio Rathole,” and how much local fans detested that. But it wasn’t chanted with an “F-bomb.”

And don’t think I’m touting La Cueva fans as the best when it comes to sportsmanship now. They hate to see their teams lose, especially to the teams from Rio Rancho, high school sports’ new kids on the Metro block.

Am I too sensitive? Or should we expect better behavior from our youngsters?

What worries me most is if these kids think that language at a public setting, with senior citizens and elementary students in the bleachers, is OK, what can we expect from their eventual children? F-bombs in the classrooms, hallways and Walmart?

You get the idea. I won’t tell you I don’t use profanity, but at a sporting event is not the place for it.

In another rant of sorts about poor sportsmanship, it’s been called to my attention that a local candidate has been having her campaign signs uprooted and removed from where they were legally installed.

Other candidates’ signs in those vicinities have remained standing, and one of this particular candidate’s wonders why only her signs are being removed.

She can’t necessarily point the finger at her opponent, because it’s likely some of his or her supporters.

Bottom line: I doubt that teenagers are doing this. It’s probably adults.

And that’s also poor sportsmanship.

Just like the teams on the field should be the ones to decide who wins and who loses, so should an election.

C’mon, folks, let’s abide by the NMAA’s word and “Compete with Class.”