Fantastic sportsmanship, or not

The home team crowd boo when the opposing team enters the field. The number of fans certainly outnumbers that of his opponent, so the applause from the away team’s fan base is almost silenced. The pre-game announcements on the jumbo-tron remind fans, as well as players, to respect each other, their teammates, and most of all, their opponent.

Colleges and universities tend to take pride in traditional values, establish precedence, and earn the respect of the broader global community through example. The NCAA maintains the same values. So, I have to ask myself, why is it that no matter which college stadium you go to watch a college football game, the opposing team is not welcomed with the respect they deserve by being a visitor to your territory? Why is it so difficult to whistle or clap your opponent (your guest) when they enter your field (your home) to participate in a sport that thousands of people are known to pay good money to watch and enjoy? After all, it is a sporting event that they share with each other.

Websters defines sportsmanship (in part) as the aspiration that an activity be enjoyed with due regard for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of camaraderie with competitors. I believe that sportsmanship is a behavior learned through life experiences; with age comes wisdom. You’ve heard the old saying, walk a mile in my shoes. Perhaps if fans remembered the feeling of being on both sides of a situation and that camaraderie is the foundation of good sportsmanship, wouldn’t that speak volumes about the stature of that college or university and the students they are proudly affiliated with?

Some things to remember about being a good sport:

  • treat your opponent with respect; be humble welcome them
  • win without gloating; accept a compliment while giving one in return
  • lose with dignity; congratulate your opponent, avoid making excuses
  • demonstrate by example; do to others as you would like them to do to you

The next time you attend a college football game (or any sporting event for that matter), be aware of your surroundings. Stand out as a gracious host who greets your guests with the respect they deserve after they’ve traveled the distance to be there. You can find the same reciprocal treatment when you become their guest. Sounds like a win-win situation.

As quoted by Addison Walker: “It’s not true that good guys finish last. Good guys are winners even before the game starts.”

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