As we enter the stretch run for our winter seasons, I would like to take this opportunity to write about sportsmanship. As we announce at the beginning of each game, “Good sportsmanship is essential to the success of our programs”. We announce that because I believe it to be true. What makes good sportsmanship? I believe it can be summed up in one word: Respect. This applies to players, coaches, parents, and fans. These are some of the ways in which good sportsmanship and respect are shown:
- Respect of the team: good sportsmanship is shown by respecting the aspect of the team. A good sport respects the decisions of the coaches, even if he or she may not agree with them. A good sport respects teammates by coming to practice and being accountable for giving his or her absolute best effort in practice and games and in the classroom.
- Respect of the game: Good sportsmanship is shown by respecting the rules of the game. A good sport respects the decisions of the officials, even if he or she may not agree. The officials that are hired are doing their best to uphold the rules of the game. They may make mistakes, but everyone does, and their integrity should not be questioned. A good sport follows the rules of the game and gives 100% in games and practice.
- Respect of opponents: A good sport respects opponents. A good sport plays hard and does everything within the rules to win, but at the end of the game, is able to shake hands with his or her opponent. A good sport supports his or her team, without putting down or making fun of the opponents. A good sport also understands that the opponent will also cheer on his or her team and respects their right to do that.
The greatest challenge to good sportsmanship is adversity. When things are not going well, the easy response is to shift the blame. When this is done, the focus is away from the positive to the negative. It is essential that our student-athletes maintain a positive approach to handling adversity. We need the support of our parents as role models if we are to accomplish this.
When one attends an event, as a member of the team or as a fan, that person is representing his or her family, school, and community. Please remember that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for being great supporters of athletic programs. Let’s support our teams positively during the remainder of the winter season!