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The Meaning of Good Sportsmanship

Posted: 05-24-2012 | Categories: Parents & Students

15-yard penalty. Technical Foul. Penalty Stroke. These are just a few examples of penalties that result from unsportsmanlike conduct such as excessive celebration during a sporting contest. For more serious instances of unsportsmanlike behavior including altercations, there are fines, suspensions and bans from tournaments or post-season play among other punishments. Why suffer through penalties or pay thousands of dollars in amends when you can just as easily be a good sport?

Good sportsmanship is the most important aspect of the game. Sometimes games will get intense, heated and personal; therefore, sportsmanship must be learned in order to be practiced in sticky situations. If athletes weren’t reprimanded for unfit behavior, there would be no guidelines for others to follow. Of course there’s talent and hard work, which are both very important parts of sports, but without sportsmanship and self-discipline, there would likely be chaos throughout various levels of play.

When athletes go “beyond the game,” they look outside of what it takes to win a game, but decide to be a good teammate, good opponent and good person. Everyone may have a tad bit different definition of good sportsmanship, but first-class sportsmanship all leads to the same goal of having clean, fun competition with the outcome of creating champions who excel both on and off the court.

The Louisiana State High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) held its first annual “Beyond the Game” Sportsmanship Essay Contest this past spring, and Louisiana high school students wrote what they uniquely held as the true meaning of sportsmanship. St. Paul’s School Freshman William Kenyon won the contest with his essay “The Field of Dreams.” William explained that not only was sportsmanship an important aspect of sports, but it was also an important aspect of everyday life.

“When thinking about sportsmanship, most people only think about the sport side of sportsmanship and not about the real everyday side. The reality is that sportsmanship is in anything and everything that we do both on and off the field. How do you respect anyone or anything without sportsmanship coming into play? The task is formidable.” – Winner, St. Paul’s School Freshman William Kenyon

For his winning essay, William will be presented with a $500 check at the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s (LHSCA) annual Coaches Clinic in July.

A few other top essays described what it takes to be a great sportsman. These were written by: St. Paul’s High School Freshman Peyton Lacoste, Cedar Creek High School Freshman Aaron Hunt, Elton High School Senior Morgan Richard, Cedar Creek School Junior Jeff Carroll and Ursuline Senior Elissa Parker.

“Respect the team that beats you by one run, one point, or one field goal. Life is too short to hate people. Life is too good to dwell on a loss. You will always get another chance to do well in the sport or in other situations in life. Take advantage of what you have and always remember opponents are not your enemies.” -- Peyton Lacoste, St. Paul’s

“If you understand the significance of perseverance, it will provide you with the ability to overcome any obstacles placed in front of you and allow you to succeed on and off the field.” -- Aaron Hunt, Cedar Creek

“Sportsmanship is found in every level of every sport. It is the common theme that unites not only the players but the teams; and its effects are felt long after the final whistle blows.” -- Morgan Richard, Elton

“I discovered that playing sports is much more than just a competition – it is an opportunity for participants to develop as people and build character by playing fair.” –Jeff Carroll, Cedar Creek

“I am privileged to know the true meaning of sportsmanship; a word that teaches athletes the authentic meaning of their sport and enables them to conquer any goal they put their mind to.” –Elissa Parker, Ursuline

What’s your definition of good sportsmanship?

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