Tonight I went to a HS girls basketball game. The girls played well and worked hard, but in the end they lost the game. I was impressed with most of their attitudes, for the most part. I can’t say that I was too impressed with the attitudes and behavior of the audience around me. Admittedly, I was sitting near the student section and the parents section did appear to behavior politely from across the court. A real shame poor sportsmanship behavior has to be so casually displayed by students and a few adults who encouraged the “boos” and “cat calls.
Sportsmanship is the first thing one has to learn when playing sports, at any level. The point of sports is the competition and the fact that there will always be a winner and a loser. It reminds me a bit of war made civilized… except the civility is fleeting.
Learning to lose in sports is as important as learning to win. In fact, it is true in all areas of life. This is in fact the basis of sportsmanship, especially because we all know that losing is not easy to cope with. Still, sportsmen who lose can keep their integrity as respectful individuals when losing is the right aim. Tonight the girls on the court did just that. The spectators missed the point.
I concede, not every sportsman is able to keep his dignity in the face of defeat. However, no matter what the reason for his loss, poor sportsmanship is never an acceptable trait in any person. Such behaviors are always condemned and often sanctioned by sports bodies.
As a general rule, when we think about individuals who practice a sport at high levels, we automatically think about people who are well educated and who, because of the discipline they must follow in practicing their sport, are respectful and fair in a game, no matter the result. A good player is a good loser as well. Usually, people who are good in what they do can easier accept the fact that there is someone better than them.
It is a shame that youth are not being taught sportsmanship as spectators.
On a side note, I am also saddened by the power sports has over everything else in education. Academics takes a back seat to sports. The arts are the first thing to go when school budgets cut programs. I recognize that it is a part of our culture, but we are losing too much in the process.
No wonder I struggle with exercise and sports. Sports make exercise into a form of war… and who needs it?