“It’s competing for your best against the opposing team while playing fairly, but also holding your teammates accountable to the same thing.” -Tristin Bockoven
If you look up the word “sportsmanship” in a dictionary, the definition is “fair and generous behavior or treatment of others, especially in a sports contest.” This is a very vague definition compared to when I asked eight basketball players, four girls, and four guys, what they thought the definition was. All of them mentioned things like respect even when you don’t receive it, no trash talk, being kind, playing fairly, working together, encouraging your teammates, and having a positive attitude. Things like that are sometimes hard to keep in mind especially when your adrenaline is running. I was curious, so after participating in sports, I decided to observe another sport. In my opinion, I found that our Fort Dodge Senior High school’s basketball teams do a pretty good job at being good sports.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a basketball person, but when you watch any sport, it’s easy to see sportsmanship whether you know the sport or not. At some point I noticed it at the games, it started slowly, but as the games progressed it was easier to notice things like players who clearly pushed an opponent because they weren’t happy that the game wasn’t going the way they wanted or throwing their head back because someone on their team missed a shot. Thankfully, I could also see more players showing good sportsmanship. I feel like our team did a pretty great job of having a positive attitude, even when receiving some trash talk or aggression from the other side.
I asked coach Aaron Miller about sportsmanship and he stressed how sportsmanship as a student-athlete helps build character off the court and later in life. He communicates with his players and doesn’t let their competitive nature blind them from what it means to be a good sport, but he also tries to keep in mind that the players he’s dealing with are young teens. Using situations as teachable moments, he helps his players learn the importance of having good sportsmanship.
When spectating, those lessons are noticeable. Keeping in mind what coach Miller said, I think it’s fair to say that both teams had some bad sportsmanship, but they also had a lot of great sportsmanship. No one is perfect, but they all try their best. Sportsmanship is a choice, though not everyone chooses it, I know our teams can always choose it even when their opponents may not.