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FANtastic Sportsmanship – Or Not
The home team crowd boos as the opposing team enters the field. The number of fans undoubtedly exceeds that of their opponent, so the cheers of the visiting team’s fan base are almost drowned out. Pre-game announcements on the jumbo-tron remind fans, as well as players, to be respectful of each other, their teammates and, most importantly, their opponent.
Colleges and universities tend to take pride in traditional values, set precedent, and earn the respect of the global community at large by example. The NCAA upholds the same values. So, I have to wonder why, no matter which college stadium you go to watch a college football game, the opposing team isn’t given the respect they deserve to be a visitor to your turf? Why is it so difficult to whistle or clap for the opponent (your guest) when they enter your field (your house) to participate in a sport that thousands of people are known to pay dearly to see and enjoy ? It is, after all, a sporting event that you share in common.
Websters defines sportsmanship (in part) as an 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 an old adage, walk a mile in my shoes. Maybe if fans remembered the feeling of being on both sides of a situation and that camaraderie is the basis of good sportsmanship, wouldn’t that say a lot about the stature of this college or university and students who are proudly affiliated?
A few things to remember to be a good athlete:
- treat your opponent with respect; be humble, welcome them
- win without jubilation; accepting a compliment while giving one back
- lose with dignity; praise your opponent, avoid making excuses
- lead by example; do unto others as you would have them do unto you
The next time you attend a college football game (or any sporting event for that matter), be aware of your surroundings. Stand out by being a gracious host who greets guests with the respect they deserve for having traveled the distance to be there. You may just find the same reciprocated treatment when you next become their guest. It looks like a win-win situation for everyone.
As quoted by Addison Walker – “It’s not true that the good guys finish last. The good guys win before the game even starts.”
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