We all consider the notion of good sportsmanship when partaking in any type of sport. As you may know, being a “good sport” is very important in competition today. On the elite level, sportsmanship is taken very seriously; with that being said, there is more to sportsmanship than what you think. First off, sportsmanship is defined as “ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behavior while participating in a game or athletic event.” For example, if during a basketball game you have a hard foul and the other team helps their opponent up, that is good sportsmanship.
Good sportsmanship encompasses many aspects of a person’s character, the most fundamental part being respect. The good sportsman respects both his teammates and his opponents as equals. He plays with integrity. A win that does not come fairly holds no satisfaction for him. He is honest in his dealings with opponents because he treats them the way he wants to be treated. He is unselfish in his desire to see all his teammates participate in and enjoy the game. He is humble in his victories and has the proper perspective on his losses. In short, the qualities that go into making a good person are the same ones that shape a great sportsman.
Unfortunately, as people’s character off the field has declined, so has their behavior on it. People pout and even cry when they lose, they gloat when they win, and they take sports far too seriously. Instead, they should understand that good sportsmanship truly enhances the experience of both playing and watching sports. This can help fans really enjoy themselves at the game. Not only that, but players will feel encouraged by one another and take satisfaction in the fact that the game was played fairly.
Playing fair is easier said than done. You would be shocked about how many people will cheat or play dirty just to win when, in the end, it’s just a game. There is really no reason to be dishonest. Yes, you may win in the short term, but the way you’ve won will always follow you.
Remaining positive throughout the game is very important as well. It’s easy to get mad or upset during the competition, but being a good sport and cheering on your teammates during their mistakes is way better than being mad about one little thing, or even the outcome of the game. Berating your teammate doesn’t accomplish anything besides making them feel worse than they already do. Instead, slap your teammate on the back, tell them to shake it off, offer some advice, and let them know some of the things they’re doing right.
In any sport, there’s going to be a winner and a loser. Sometimes you’ll be on the losing side of the table, which nobody likes, but it can’t be avoided. When you understand and accept this fact, handling a loss will be nothing to you. When you lose, don’t sulk, throw a temper tantrum, or cry. Be an adult and give the other team a congratulatory handshake.
And if you find yourself in the winner’s circle, remember to show some class. Don’t gloat or put down the other team after you win. Let your performance speak for itself. After the game, make sure to tell the other team “good game” and offer some compliments to the opposing players.
All in all, good sportsmanship is a lifestyle. Being a leader on and off the court (or wherever you play) can take you a long way. It will likely earn you the respect of others, which is one thing cheaters don’t have. The self-respect will kick in and you will begin to teach the followers you’ve obtained by being a good sport.