Thursday, January 25, 2007
Winning goes beyond the scoreboard. It stretches to the players’ actions and attitudes - before, during and after the games. It reaches the coaches and the fans.
All contribute to what hopefully is a winning sports environment.
A recent example in the professional ranks is the New Orleans Saints. They lost to Chicago Sunday in the NFC championship game.
But afterwards, everyone knew the Saints were still winners.
They had gone from one of the league’s worst to one of the league’s best in just one year. And they did it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They were an inspiration to a city trying to recover from devastation. They were an inspiration to the country.
Their rookie head coach, Sean Payton, didn’t talk much about the loss Sunday. He talked about his team, which he said exemplified the true meaning of team. He talked about their successes, their amazing turnaround.
The Saints and their coach exemplified winning traits - pride, dignity, class, perseverance, sportsmanship. We need more “Saints” - from our youth leagues, to junior high, to high school, to college and to the pros. Those aforementioned traits too often take a back seat to “win at all costs.”
What is good sportsmanship?
One definition is on the website kidshealth.org, but the lesson is not just for kids.
Good sportsmanship occurs when teammates, opponents, coaches, fans and officials treat each other with respect. Kids learn the basics of sportsmanship from the adults in their lives, especially their parents and their coaches. Kids who see adults behaving in a sportsmanlike way gradually come to understand that the real winners in sports are those who know how to persevere and to behave with dignity - whether they win or lose a game.
The web site also offers some suggestions on how to build sportsmanship in your kids:
A good lesson in sportsmanship is one we all need regularly. And it’s a lesson that’s far more important than the scoreboard.
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