You must have heard the expression, “don’t be a sore loser” before, and perhaps you’ve even had it said to you or a loved one. If you’re not sure what it means, essentially it is the opposite of good sportsmanship. A true athlete understands that it’s more about playing the game, rather than winning or losing it. But good sportsmanship also goes beyond only that, and many people consider it to be the most important quality of an athlete.
What is Good Sportsmanship?
To start this discussion, let’s define the key term, good sportsmanship. Being a good sport is primarily about respect.
There are many types of respect to acknowledge here. For an athlete, this person is respectful of their colleagues and teammates, as well as their opponents. While including that last group in the definition of good sportsmanship may surprise some people, it is essential for someone who believes in admiration and respect for others.
It’s about treating others with kindness and integrity. That also includes the athlete’s fans, coach, volunteers, and anyone else involved in the game.
Good sportsmanship is also about selflessness. It is about more than just wanting the spotlight to yourself. In fact, it is the opposite of that. Being a good sport is about focusing on the success of the team, with everyone involved contributing to the result, such as a win.
In addition, it’s important to talk about playing fair. A good sportsman would not consider cheating in a game to increase their opportunity to win. This person would also not delight in winning through unfair means, whatever that may look like.
Lastly, good sportsmanship is also about not being a sore loser, an expression mentioned earlier. It means that you don’t cry, scream or throw a fit when you lose a tennis match or another type of game.
Instead, the right thing to do is to go and congratulate the fellow sportsmen for winning, even though they were on the opposing team. After all, you would want the same respect from them. Plus, they played a great game that deserved the win and acknowledgement of their efforts.
Even if the good sport has disagreements about something that happened, the differences of opinion are best reserved in a private manner, rather than the public eye. And any conversations revolving around this subject are carried out in a respectful way.
Why is Good Sportsmanship Important?
Surely, what matters most in the game should be talent and skill, right? Not necessarily. Good sportsmanship and possessing the above-noted qualities matter because they impact how the athlete plays the game.
By concerning themselves with lowly things, such as showing off in front of their teammates, they are already impairing their ability to play. They likely won’t win fans with those actions either. Only by acting as a team can this person and their teammates give 100 percent, and even if only one of them is a bad sport, it’s enough to jeopardize the game for the whole team.
Good sportsmanship also impacts how the individual is perceived by the public. People love a talented player, but they love an athlete who is humble and kind to their fellow human beings even more.
The fact of the matter is that if someone is a bad sport, the word is going to get out about it. That person will risk losing fans’ respect over this attitude, and see some doors close in their career. It could stunt their growth in professional sports. They also won’t feel genuine or earn the respect of those on their team.
Also, the sports world today has no room for embarrassing or belittling other players. It will not be tolerated by officials in games or coaches in practices. When a person is not acting respectfully toward others, they will likely be removed and they might even be penalized by sitting out a future game or practice session. The same goes for coaches.
Lastly, good sportsmanship matters because who a person is on the field is closely interwoven with who that individual is off the field. The traits of a good sport are much the same as the traits of a quality human being, and vice-versa.
How does Someone Become a Good Sport?
It takes practice to develop sportsmanship qualities because it’s natural to want to shine and win. But there are some things that can help an athlete to develop a good sense of respect, teamwork, and humility.
Getting an athletic scholarship, for example, will provide this person with the opportunity to work together with other great athletes of your generation, all while lightening the burden of paying for college. With ASM Scholarships, a person with drive and passion can start to build their career and practice the important traits that are discussed above.
With less financial stress on their shoulders, a full or partial scholarship in the desired sport allows them to focus on being a good sportsman and building a satisfying career. Taking this path can be very rewarding.
Takeaway on Good Sportsmanship
While it might sound simple, good sportsmanship takes continual growth and learning to do it well. It requires taking an honest look at oneself to see if teamwork really is happening and whether actions are genuinely selfish or not.
With success, it can be easy to get comfortable being the star of a football team or another sport, especially in the higher divisions. But when being a good sport is no longer important, then the athlete needs to re-evaluate where they are at and that is very humbling.
Anyone can get too big for their shoes, so being a good sportsman will be something everyone must work at constantly, even those with many achievements and outstanding stats.
In the end, who someone is as a player will seriously impact how they play the game, whether they do so professionally or not. It’s vital to do one’s best and be part of a team. Otherwise everyone else in that team will also focus on themselves, and then everyone loses in the end.