Ridgefield intern proposes code of conduct for players, fans
To keep everything sporting and friendly among players on the field — and parents on the sidelines — town leaders are looking into the idea of a sports code of conduct for Ridgefield.
The code could be posted at playing venues in town, giving referees — who are often students — rules to point to when enforcing behavioral norms or, potentially, evicting an offending player, out-of-control coach, or excessively rabid fan.
“This is not just for players, this is for parents and coaches,” Siera Fergosi told the Board of Selectmen.
A student intern working for First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s office, Fergosi has been researching the possibilities for a code of conduct and made a presentation at the selectmen’s July 17 meeting.
“This all comes out of the Compassion Project,” Marconi told fellow selectmen. “One of the concerns is a decline in civility at high school events.”
Fergosi told the selectmen many problem behaviors are exhibited by adults at least as much as kids.
“I played soccer. I found it wasn’t the players, it was the parents,” she said.
Her brother works, as many student athletes do, as a referee in games involving younger kids. Often, the parents can’t control themselves.
“The language they use, the actions they do — it’s kind of worrisome,” Fergosi said.
“I don’t think the parents think there’s any regulation on them,” she added.
“They get upset … Mistakes can be corrected, but the profanity that gets handed to these children!”
Fergoi said the hope was that coaches would help enforce the code of conduct, particularly at games when the umpires or referees are students.
“We’d like to see Ridgefield coaches take charge, and not leave it to the umpires,” she said.
Signs at fields
Fergosi looked into having the code of conduct posted on signs at athletic fields in town. One design under consideration would have the Town of Ridgefield’s seal, the Parks and Recreation Department’s seal, and the Compassionate Ridgefield logo. Another version would have just the town seal and the compassion logo.
Fergosi said she and a friend had gone to playing fields in town, photographing spots where they thought it would be good for signs could be put up.
“We expect to have at least 30 of them,” she said.
She’d also researched the cost of having the signs made.
Using a company in Ridgefield, she said, the cost would be about $2,700 for all the signs. Going out of town, she had gotten a “considerably lower prices” of $810 for the signs.
“I personally think using a Ridgefleld business would be good for the town,” she said.
Work in progress
Marconi told The Press the code of conduct itself is still in development, and hasn’t been approved yet by the subcommittee working on it.
The code that’s eventually adopted will need to be approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Board of Education and “a wide array of various athletic groups in town,” Marconi said.
“This was an initial information presentation for the Board of Selectmen,” he said.