A Passion for Good Sportsmanship

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                        February 14, 2013

 

 

I was at the Air Force Academy basketball game last night where they hosted UNLV. This is my second year being a season ticket holder for Falcon home games, and I love it! Getting season tickets is a little easier here than it is for Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, or North Carolina. A year ago when I went to get them about two weeks before the season opener I was surprised to discover that our seats are in the fourth row in between the Air Force bench and the scorer’s table. Evidently there aren’t that many season ticket holders.

This year the Falcons are gathering more and more fans since they are doing well. Let me tell you, there were a lot of open seats around us for the Western State and Regis games back in November, than there are now.

Last night as Air Force pulled off a great win against the Runnin’ Rebels I was taken back by the obnoxious comments by some of the fans around me. Why do grown adults think that it’s okay to scream “You suck!” at players visiting from another university. When an official makes a call that goes against the home team, even if it is suspect, why should people express their rage with such hate and venom? It wasn’t cadets that were screaming obscenities, but it was fans of an institution that raises the call of integrity, honor, and service.

And the thing is it seems to be getting worse! At a recent high school game where the team I help coach was getting beat pretty bad, a couple of adults were screaming in the otherwise quiet gym as one of our players was shooting free throws. Not students, mind you! Adults! I’m even assuming they were parents, but can not confirm that. All I know for sure, is that it was two middle-aged women sitting in the top row cat-calling. Their team was up by 30! Our team was feeling deflated enough as it was, but to have two middle-aged women cat-calling…sad!

I don’t understand schools raising money to fight cancer by having students wear pink, or coaches wear tennis shoes, promote it with announcements…and then when the game starts hurl expletives at players and officials.

There seems to be a growing passion for obnoxiousness in sports. And it isn’t restricted to spectators by any means. Players and coaches have often signed on to act like jerks as well. The number of technical fouls for players taunting has risen substantially.

There needs to be a passion for good sportsmanship. It needs to grab hold of our athletic commitment and fuel the approach to the game.

The integrity of the game and the fun of simply playing the game must trump any desire to humiliate the opponent.

The passion for good sportsmanship must be one of the foundational principles for any competitive situation. It must be a non-negotiable!

Recently I had a situation where of my players had a momentary heated encounter with a player from the other team. I used it as a teachable moment to express my belief that our attitude and actions must not be compromised simply because of differing attitudes and actions of others.

Spiritually speaking, my commitment to Jesus does not get thrown into the backseat simply because I encounter a situation where our culture says it is appropriate to do what suits me. My commitment stays as the main thing.

As a Christian who coaches I understand that if I compromise my principles it communicates to my players that its okay for them to compromise theirs as well.

Bottom line, a passion for good sportsmanship must be rooted within us. Sadly, it is becoming so unusual these days that I think more and more people don’t know what it is or what it looks like.

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Christianity, Freedom, Jesus, Parenting, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

One Comment on “A Passion for Good Sportsmanship”


  1. Great post Bill. I couldn’t agree more. This lack of sportsmanship is one of the key reasons why I don’t enjoy spectating at live sports events anymore. Actually, living rooms airing a live sports event on the TV are often not much better! I used to enjoy it a lot more but have been turned off. I think the tide of change begins with how we’re raising our little ones now. I played four rounds of Uno with my 6-year-old daughter last night. I won three, she won one. Neither of us bragged, gloated or talked down to the other. We laughed, shook hands and had fun. I know it’s Uno, but someday it could be her on the playing field with team members and opponents. It starts now!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: