|Sportsmanship..................by ric justiss
Last weekend the New England Patriots lost to the
Indianapolis Colts in the NFL playoffs. Anyone who
watched Bill Belichick, the coach of the Patriots, as he
was interviewed after the game saw what has become
an expected posture and disposition following the
game. He was mad, angry, short, and not in the mood
to answer any questions. Here's a guy who won three
Super Bowls in a span of four years, and is touted by
some as one of the greatest coaches ever. A guy who
took a team that wasn't supposed to be all that good
this year and brought it to within a few minutes of yet
another Super Bowl. And here he was, seemingly ready to throw up on his sweat
shirt as he answered questions in a barely audible monotone. He reminded me
of Parcells after every loss, and in most weekly interviews also.
Prisoners going to their execution have looked better.
And it has become expected and no longer surprising. The losing coaches and
players when interviewed often are just plain ole bad sports.
Good sportsmanship occurs when teammates, opponents, coaches, and
officials treat each other with respect. Kids learn the basics of sportsmanship
from the adults in their lives, especially their parents and their coaches. Kids
who see adults behaving in a sportsmanlike way gradually come to understand
that the real winners in sports are those who know how to persevere and to
behave with dignity — whether they win or lose a game.
Here are some ways that you can show others what good sportsmanship is all
Be polite to everyone you're playing with and against. No trash talk - which
means saying mean things while you're in the middle of a game.
Don't show off. Just play your best. If you're good, people will notice.
Tell your opponents "good game!" whether you've won or you've lost.
Recognize and appreciate good performances, especially by the opponent.
Applause for an opponent’s good play demonstrates generosity and courtesy. It
shows a true awareness of the game and athletic ability.
Learn the rules of the game. Show up for practices and games on time - even if
you're the star of the team.
Listen to the coaches and follow their directions about playing.
Don't argue with an official, even if you don't agree with his or her call. Umpires
are impartial and perform to the best of their abilities. Any mistakes made are part
of the game and must be accepted.
Don't make up excuses or blame a teammate when you lose. Try to learn from
what happened. Be positive and friendly even after losing.
Be willing to sit out so other team members can get in the game - even if you
think you're a better player.
Play fair and don't cheat.
Cheer for your teammates even if the score is 1,000-1! You could inspire a big
Win with class – lose with dignity.
It seems in our sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost.
While winning at all costs and poor sportsmanship may be condoned and even
promoted in professional sports, this does not mean it is the proper way for us
normal people to behave. Whether we like it or not, sportsmanship in sports is a
direct reflection of our own ethics in real life. Sportsmanship like ethics concerns
both the character and the actions of an athlete. The image you project as an
athlete is a product of your character. Good sportsmanship is not just what you
do on the field, it is hopefully the way you conduct your life both on and off the
field. In the same way, unsportsmanlike behaviour on the field is probably an
indication of your off the field conduct. When I see someone displaying bad
sportsmanship, I get a real clear picture of the way they act in their business
dealings, their treatment of their family and others.
We can sit back and blame television and pro sports for the decline in
sportsmanship but we can also take the responsibility of bringing it back into
our own contests and games. It is time for all of us involved in sports of one kind
or another to practice good sportsmanship. This is especially important if we are
involved with children either as a parent or coach.
"For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
He writes not that you won or lost - but how you played the game." (Grantland
Jan. 23, 2007