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Sunday, September 26, 2010

What it's really about.......


If you are a sports fan, it is currently one of the best times of year. Most sports are in season, football - both NCAA and NFL, Major League Baseball, soccer, Nascar, PGA golf, basically pick a sport and you can watch it right now. Professional sports are not the only ones being played, there are little leagues, pee wee football, high school sports and many others. That being said what better time then now to discuss sportsmanship.
Dictionary.com defines sportsmanship as a person who exhibits qualities highly regarded in sport, such as fairness, generosity, observance of the rules, and good humor when losing. In a poll I took of five friends on sportsmanship, the ideas they brought up relating to sportsmanship were being a good loser, having fun and respect. Sportsmanship applies whether you are playing a game/sport, watching it on television, or if you happen to be attending your child's athletic activities.
The last example there is especially true. All too often in today's society, parents are becoming participants in the games their children play, due to their behavior watching the games. Watch the news or look on the Internet and there are numerous instances of parent's behavior being out of line to the point of being ejected from fields, assaulting officials, and berating the kids participating in the sports, including their own children.
Children learn the foundation of sportsmanship at home. Parents are their children's first role models when it comes to sportsmanship. Children observe how parents handle their favorite football team losing on television, or how they handle winning a board game with the family, and it begins to build that foundation.
Here are some ways to help teach/role model good sportsmanship:
1. If you are attending your child's game, remember only shout words of encouragement, they
know that they missed the touchdown pass, they do not need to be publicly humiliated. The
same thing if you are watching a professional sport on television, your children copy your
behavior.
2. If you are attending your child's game, remember that the umpires, referees and other
officials are normally volunteers, they do not get paid, and they are human, they will
occasionally make mistakes, it is not done on purpose and it is not a personal attack on you or
your child, this is your chance to teach forgiveness, understanding and acceptance.
3. Remember, it is just a game. And the game is just part of the experience, it teaches life skills,
how to deal with successes and failures, teamwork, helps them develop friendships, and
provides exercise.
4. Whether on the field, or on television, be sure to point out positive examples of good
sportsmanship.
And with tip number four, I will leave you with a story about my all time favorite example of sportsmanship. It occurred during a softball game between Western Oregon and Central Washington in 2008, with a trip to the post season on the line. In the second inning of the game with two runners on base, Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky, hit the first home run of her career. In her excitement rounding the bases, she missed first base, and as she went back to touch the base, she tore a ligament in her knee and fell to the ground. The umpires explained that the rules stated that no coaches or teammates could assist her or she would be called out. The other option was that they could substitute a pinch runner, but then the home run would only count as a single, and the pinch runner would be on first base. However Central Washington's Mallory Holtman had another option. Holtman asked the umpire if she could assist Tucholsky around the bases, and the umpire agreed. So Holtman, along with fellow teammate Liz Wallace, lifted Tucholsky - their opponent - off the ground, and walked around the bases, lowering Tucholsky enough at each bag so that her foot could touch the base.

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