Archive for the ‘Good Sportsmanship’ Category

Service of Good Sportsmanship

Monday, November 9th, 2020

Photo: savvymom.ca

I think the term “good sportsmanship” is redundant. But can there be too much?

Sportsmanship was paramount at the all-girls school I attended for a dozen years, as I’ve written about previously. Sports were a big deal there. In the day it had more gymnasiums than any other school in NYC.  The two teams–the reds and the whites, as I’ve written previously–bellowed cheers before each game rooting for the opposition.

This was sportsmanship gone overboard.

Photo: savvyparent

Lots of people are thinking about sportsmanship these days. Dan Rather tweeted: “Sportsmanship is being joyous in victory, without gloating. And it is being sad in defeat without being a sore loser. It is a standard I hope we can ultimately achieve.”

A photo of a letter that one-termer George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President, left in the Oval Office for Bill Clinton, [photo below], reflects a gentler time than 2020. Healing, handshaking sensibilities are ridiculed by many today–having nothing to do with the pandemic. I miss the spirit behind this example of elegant, magnificent sportsmanship. In case you can’t read President Bush’s letter in the photo, this is what it says:

January 20th 1993

Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know that you will feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck–

George

How do you define sportsmanship? Can you share good and bad examples? Is sportsmanship old school–an anachronism?

Downloaded from Facebook posting

Service of Loyalty and Respect: The 2015 American Team at the Presidents Cup

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

 

Phil Mickelson Photo lahoremonitor.com

Phil Mickelson Photo lahoremonitor.com

My husband, Homer Byington, a golf fan, sent this to me. One reason he follows golf is because of its history of good sportsmanship. He says it’s the only sport in which a player is honor bound to report his/her mistake.

What happened on Tuesday struck a welcome note in today’s “Win at all costs/you’re a total loser if you don’t” climate and approach that applies to more than sports these days—i.e. to politics, the arts, and business as well.

If you don’t follow golf, this year is the Presidents Cup, a challenge between American and international golf teams in Incheon, South Korea. Next year will be the Ryder Cup, a competition between the American and European teams.

Homer wrote:

Jay Haas, Photo: thestate.com

Jay Haas, Photo: thestate.com

I am flabbergasted. In this crass, selfish world of money grubbing athletes, the richest golf pros have put sentiment ahead of self-interest.

Every other year a team of 12 American pro golfers either plays a team of 12 European golfers or 12 international golfers. Competition is fierce to make the team, because of the prestige that comes from being a part of it.

The 12 player teams are chosen 10 statistically from the players with the best records and two by each team’s captain, an appointed older, non-playing golfer.

For 20 consecutive years, Phil Mickelson, 45, played well enough to make the American team statistically, a record few, if any, can match. This year he has played terribly, and his ranking has fallen all the way to 30th so he did not make the team statistically. Furthermore, there are at least 10 other Americans that also did not make the team, who have been playing better than he has, and theoretically, if chosen by the captain, would give the American team a better chance of winning.

Jordan Spieth, 22, No. 1 in world golf ranking. Photo:  golfstateofmind.com

Jordan Spieth, 22, No. 1 in world golf ranking. Photo: golfstateofmind.com

This [Tuesday] afternoon, Captain Jay Haas of the American Team picked Phil as his first “Captain’s Pick,” as he said, “The guys on the team were adamant that Phil was the guy.”

Phil will probably play badly and the Americans may well lose the cup because of their choice, but what a way to lose it!

And I had thought Americans, particularly young ones, only cared about money and winning.

This decision has its roots in good sportsmanship, and represents recognition of an admired colleague’s contributions to a game.  There’s also encouragement—”we know you can do it”–in their choice. They have confidence Michelson still has it in him. 

Can you think of other examples either in sports, politics, the arts or business where young winners acknowledge the value of an older, recently less successful competitor who once led the pack? Do you think the team was nuts to add Mickelson?

Presidents Cup

 

 

Service of Good Sportsmanship vs. Winning School Sports

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

cross country fallen 2

The intransigence of Minnesota state officials about an incident involving the “no help” rule in a recent cross country race inspired the conversation on Rick Wolff’s “Sports Edge,” his sports parenting program on WFAN radio one recent Sunday morning. Two girls who stopped to assist another runner were disqualified and were not credited with finishing the race.

Wolff explained the reason behind the rule: Should a Good Samaritan move an injured cross country fallenrunner, more damage than good might result. At the same time he thought that being disqualified is a big price to pay for doing the right thing. In a typical cross country course there are plenty of tripping hazards–tree roots and such. Each case should be taken up on an ad hoc basis.

Before Wolff asked his audience what they thought he shared a few other examples in which, unlike in Minnesota, the officials bent the rule.

  • In Memphis, runner Seth Goldstein noticed that a fallen competitor’s lips were turning blue and his eyes were slipping up into his head. Though runners ahead of him kept going, Goldstein stopped. Goldstein knew CPR from his lifeguard job and saved the other man’s life. He was pronounced a hero. Tennessee officials recognized the run.
  • In Ohio crowds encouraged officials to change their decision to disqualify after cheering two girls who had stopped to help a competitor. 

cross country 2And Wolff’s callers?

  • Some felt that the difference between the Tennessee, Ohio and Minnesota incidents was crucial: There was an adult by the side of the runner in Minnesota who told the girls to keep going and they chose not to. The callers felt that because an adult was alerted and on top of the accident, there was no need for the girls to stop.
  • Others said that our litigious society was at the bottom of the rule in the first place. If a do-gooder caused a fellow runner to require knee replacement surgery, for example, because he/she helped up the competitor prematurely, lawsuits might ensue.
  • Another said that he didn’t consider helping a fallen fellow competitor was good sportsmanship but rather, good “humanship,” and should be encouraged. Yet another said he would hire the Minnesota girls who helped over the winner of a race any time as he appreciated their attitude.

Should student athletes be encouraged to consider the greater good over winning? Would that make them misfits in today’s society? Should sports officials stick by the rules no matter what as the Minnesota officials did?  

cross country 4

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