The Press Box: Sports and Sportsmanship Go Hand In Hand
Losing is always hard, especially when you try your best to win. Someone has to lose and someone has to win. That’s just the way it is when you play games. Whether it’s checkers, golf, or gymnastics, you can’t win all them all. But being a good sport, win, lose or draw, no matter what the event, tells a lot about the character of a team or an individual.
Last week I witnessed some of the best sportsmanship I’ve ever seen, I’m talking about kids in youth league baseball and softball along with adult coaches. It seems ball isn’t the only thing being taught locally. Teaching good sportsmanship is as important as teaching the game. It’s about respect, self control and playing by the rules. When playing any sport or game, remember the golden rule.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. So if you win, don’t rub it in. When you lose, be a good loser, always congratulate the other team on their win. Being a good sport means respecting yourself, your teammates, your coaches, the referees and the other team. Being respectful makes for better teamwork. And you’ll have more fun during the game, too.
I sat through two little league games and one youth softball game without witnessing one word or action of bad sportsmanship. That is good work by local coaches. They make a difference in whether a child does or doesn’t want to be a part of the activity.
If you coach youth sports and judge your success solely by wins and losses you need to re-evaluate your goals. As coaches, your number one priority should be to focus on development of the kids, while teaching the sport. Spend time with each kid not just your best athletes.
Help each kid become better from the first day of the season to the last. Teach them above all things to be good sports, especially even when the going gets tough. Teach them to play fair and never blame others when a game is lost.
Sports teams and individual games are made up of different people who are all important. There are players, coaches and scorekeepers, for example.
Sports can be physically rough, and often the risk is too high for some. If that’s the case talk to the coach about helping out as a coach’s assistant or an equipment manager. You can still be part of the team even if you’re not playing in the game.
This week we have an interesting story on sportmanship in our paper written by Randy Rutherford. It tells how the story of high school kids at Paden City taking sportmanship to a different level. It gives a good example of a coach who has his priorities straight.
Life is a lot like a sporting event. It can be tough and sometimes the outcome may not seem fair or right, especially for kids with less athletic skills than others. Good sportsmanship teaches us to focus on good things, like having fun with your friends. That’s a good habit to get into, on and off the court.