Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sportsmanship—Being a Good Winner

I read an interesting piece today on about certain very successful athletes and coaches who, immediately after winning (another) championship, did something unnecessary to focus the attention upon themselves and their accomplishments. This used to be called "unsportsmanlike" or, more simply, "gloating."

My parents and many others did not approve of this. I will freely admit that I like to win and it is clearly within my nature to brag about it when it happens. I want people to view me as successful, so I have an inclination to help them see me that way.

The near kinsman to this problem is the annoying "Championship T-shirts and hats" that quickly appear within 2-3 seconds of the final ending of a World Series, Super Bowl, etc. The players quickly don them and prance around with smiles on their faces. This, however, is a team—not individual—phenomenon and typically, each individual player appears like every one of his teammates.

What the article was bemoaning was the individual who does something intentional to showcase him/herself and his/her own accomplishments. In simpler times, it was called gloating and was looked down upon. (As it should be.)

So let me post a quick reminder of how the winner should behave: Pleasantly and civilly congratulate the opponent(s) and other participants. Smile and celebrate, of course...while acting humble. Since the attention is probably already focused on you, avoid actions which clearly intend to draw more attention to yourself. If you are a Christian and you asked for God's help, give praise to Him for providing it.

Remember that sports, in the grand scheme of God's universe, isn't really that important. There is no reason to sully your reputation through your participation in it.

No comments: