Sportsmanship: A Deeper Understanding and Its Importance Beyond Sports
Article written by Sean Dailey http://www.decaturparks.com/sportsmanship-a-deeper-understanding.php
I recently asked the kids involved in DPR’s Youth Sports and Fitness class to define sportsmanship. As you would expect, I received a myriad of answers. One of the younger children defined it as “shaking hands at the end of the game,” another as “being nice to the other team,” and finally an older kid recited the Golden Rule. None of the answers were wrong, but neither did they show an understanding past the buzzword status sportsmanship is often given. The word “sportsmanship” is fashionable to promote for many schools, youth leagues and sports associations. But are these organizations building a deeper understanding of what sportsmanship truly means or are they perpetuating a superficial understanding of just being “nice” and “shaking hands at the end”? More importantly are they and are we successfully connecting the dots between sportsmanship in sports and how it relates to other aspects of our lives? In this article I will discuss 3 vitally important parts to good sportsmanship and how it can be carried beyond the courts, fields and arenas.
If I had to pick one concept which most closely mirrors to sportsmanship, it would be respect. Respecting your opponent, as well as your team, coaches, officials and the game, is paramount to good sportsmanship. The concept of respecting individuals is easily understood. This is where the Golden Rule comes in; treating others as you would want to be treated. But how do you respect a team as a whole or the game itself?