Sportsmanship is Not Just a Noble Idea

May 15, 2009


Part of the reason we want our children to become involved in organized sports is so they can learn how to behave in a sportsmanlike manner. What does this mean exactly?


 Sportsmanship Defined


Sportsmanship can be thought of as playing fair, showing courtesy to the other players, and displaying grace no matter what the outcome of the game is.


Playing Fair


Playing fair is something that makes sense whether you are deciding how to conduct yourself at work, in your personal life, or on the basketball court. If you are confident that you have treated the other people you are interacting with in a fair and reasonable manner, your relationships will be more harmonious. We all have enough stress in our lives as it is; why add to it by treating the people in our lives badly?


We can’t control how other people choose to behave, but we can decide how we are going to react in any given situation. When we choose to take the high road and behave in a sportsmanlike manner, we are setting the tone for the other people around us.


Showing Courtesy


Being courteous and respectful of other people is always in fashion. Public figures, including professional athletes, sometimes get known for their less-than-polite antics, both on the basketball goal court and off, but there are some others who impress by the fact that they can be counted on to be class act all the way.


Whether they picked up this strategy while playing or from the way they were brought up isn’t as important as the fact that they have developed this mindset. By behaving in this manner, they are more likely to be able to have positive relationships with other people. If you had to come into contact with someone in business or in your personal life, would you rather be around someone who treats other people well, or someone who tries to get what they want by bullying, belittling, or steamrolling other peopler? The person who is able to treat others uniformly well, will do well for themselves, no matter what they set out to do. They will quickly find that other people are more than willing to step up and be part of that person’s “team.”


Showing Grace


No matter how well prepared or skilled you are, there will be times when you won’t get the results you are hoping for. Each time two teams meet on the soccer field, basketball goal court, or hockey rink, one is going to win the game and one is going to lose. That doesn’t mean that each team didn’t try its best or that they have no business being there.


How a person handles defeat is a good indication of their character. Playing sports like basketball teaches the participants how to behave well, whether they win or lose. All you need is a ball and a basketball goal and the kids are good to play. A good sport understands that on a different day, their team may be the one offering congratulations to the winners.

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