The Cubs won the World Series last November.

Since then, they've had countless parades, ring ceremonies and other celebrations.

And the North Siders have played mediocre, at best, baseball most of this summer.

Griffith athletic director Stacy Adams understands this penthouse-to-outhouse scenario which has hit many teams through the years.

"I'm trying to downplay it," Adams said. "We still have work to do."

Adams was speaking about his school being honored by the IHSAA as the top sportsmanship winner in Indiana for the 2016-17 school year. When Adams took over the athletic department on Wiggs Street three years ago, the Panthers were a pariah among Region athletic departments.

After a fight with Hammond in a boys basketball game on Feb. 7, 2015, the Panthers' basketball team had their season ended by the IHSAA. Only a trip to a courthouse got them back in.

The IHSAA's Sportsmanship Task Force grades all programs at all schools in sportsmanship issues. The year of the fight Griffith had the most "unsporting reports" in the state that year.

In the 2016-17 school year, Griffith had the fewest negative reports and was ranked the No. 1 school in the state.

Lazarus is wearing black and gold these days.

"We're happy," Adams said Thursday morning. "The biggest thing that caused the change was our coaches' leadership. They were expecting more out of our players. Our coaches did a great job."

The same can be said for the student-athletes.

Well done, ladies and gentlemen.

Adams came up with a plan that should be used by everyone. Along with every student-athlete taking the concussion test, every Panther took an online sportsmanship course before they played a game.

These courses have been handed out as punishment in the past if a player or team showed poor behavior. Taking the course beforehand and making it mandatory obviously worked at Griffith.

"... Our coaches reaffirmed what the kids went over," Adams said. "And if a soccer player got a red card, he would do another sportsmanship course."

Griffith's boys basketball team has been good for several seasons, playing in front of packed houses. When Adams would walk the officials off the court at halftime and after the final horn, the AD asked them all a few questions.

"How is our student section behaving?"

"How are our adult fans doing?"

Adams got a lot of positives from the men and women in black and white stripes. This, too, should be applauded.

IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox was pleased to talk about what has happened at Griffith, giving credit to Adams and principal Brian Orkis. Each school has a sportsmanship scorecard with each school starting the school year with 100 points.

A player or coaching ejection takes points away, among several other things. Griffith finished with 153 points last year, which was the top number in Indiana.

"Brian Orkis and Stacy Adams have embraced it. They've demonstrated it," Cox said. "It's great for the school and community. There's been a change in culture there. It comes from you expect from your students, your coaches and your fans."

A culture change has happened at Griffith, and Adams and his staff should be applauded for this. The kids at the school should take a bow, as well.

This is important, much more so than what the scoreboard reads.

"That was last year, the new year starts today," Adams said. "We're doing everything we can to try and do the right thing."

Otherwise, you'll have the Milwaukee Brewers breathing down your neck.

This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at


Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.