Good Sportsmanship: It’s Not a Sometime Thing!
According to Wikipedia, Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors.
Over the weekend, our very own Team Spirit Cheer and Dance competed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at The American Superstarz National Championships. With over 200 teams and coaches and thousands of spectators, the event was one of the largest in the country. What seemed to impress many of the athletes and families was the constant message of “Sportsmanship”. From the beginning to the end, the importance of good sportsmanship was stressed by competitors and coaches (as they wished each other “good luck” in warm-up and during practices), by fans (as they offered to give up seats in order for others to be able to see their teams compete), and by families (who offered to share hair spray, needles and thread or even Pullups, in preparation for their athlete’s performance).
But, the message wasn’t as clear as it was during the awards ceremonies:
The “Sportsmanship Award” was the very first award presented and stressed as the “most important award of the event”. Teams and Event staff nominated teams they felt exhibited sportsmanship that needed to be recognized. The team with the most nominations received a plaque, a crystal trophy for the Head Coach, a large banner to be displayed in their gym AND a donation, made in their name, to Stop Children’s Cancer. Before the announcer named the selected team, he said, “Sportsmanship is not a “sometime thing.” He then challenged US, as athletes, coaches and families to strive for good sportsmanship on an every day basis.
Sometimes, as athletes, parents and even spectators, we often are so concerned with the “win”, we don’t see the bigger picture. There are often inspiring stories about good sportsmanship coming out of tragedy. But, how often do we hear of good sportsmanship being the norm? Not often enough.
It has been said that good sportsmanship is “the Golden Rule in action”. We should treat others as we would like to be treated. The competitor should desire for his opponent what he desires for himself: a fair, hard-fought contest.
For those of you who have young athletes in your lives, please read what The American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation listed the fundamentals of sportsmanship in its 1970 publication, Crowd Control for High School Athletics.
- Show respect for the opponent at all times. The opponents should be treated as guests; greeted cordially on arriving; given the best accommodations; and accorded the tolerance, honesty, and generosity which all human beings deserve.
- Show respect for the officials. Good sportsmanship implies the willingness to accept and abide by the decisions of the officials. To criticize the officials is to teach young people to disregard the “authority principle.”
- Know, understand, and appreciate the rules of the contest. A familiarity with the current rules of the game and the recognition of their necessity for a fair contest are essential. Good sportsmanship suggests the importance of conforming to the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.
- Maintain self-control at all times. A prerequisite of good sportsmanship is understanding that rational behavior and personal testimony are more important than the desire to win. Good sportsmanship is concerned with the behavior of all involved in the game (coach, players, cheerleaders, teachers, principal, pastor, parents, and other spectators).
- Recognize and appreciate skill in performance, regardless of affiliation. Applause for an opponent’s good performance is a demonstration of generosity and good will that should not be looked on as treason. The ability to recognize quality in performance and the willingness to acknowledge it without regard to team membership is one of the most highly commendable gestures of good sportsmanship.
As adults, let’s teach the young athletes in our lives the qualities it takes to possess good sportsmanship…and it begins by serving as examples they can follow!
It is safe to say that Sun Country’s coaches, in EVERY program (competitive or recreational) believe in the importance of good sportsmanship. We hope that you will join us in our mission of teaching good sportsmanship to the athletes in your lives.