When Is It OK Not to Be a Good Sport?

Longhorn Putt

Quick answer:  in the privacy of our homes or in other quiet places where we are alone.

At all other times, poor sportsmanship must be avoided whether we are playing or watching:  we are on display, others are being taught by us about what is not acceptable when playing or watching a game.

Sound ridiculous?   Probably.  For when we think we are being wronged, we humans are not very good at controlling our emotions.  And if we hold back too much, we risk a future harmful explosion of our pent-up emotions. at which point "alone-time" summons.

Fortunately, there were few incidents of poor sportsmanship in last week’s state football finals in AT&T Stadium.   And if there were, they were pretty much kept hidden, except perhaps in the last of the finals.

The UIL has come a long way in support of good sportsmanship.  We oldsters can recall all too well that, in times gone by, unsportsmanlike conduct was not uncommon.

The team salutes to the crowd, the post-game “passing-in-line” by the opposing teams—they and other UIL innovations have discouraged ill-advised “dirty play” on the field and in the stands.

Legacy of Honor

But it is safe to say, and accurate, that "we have a ways to go."  There are too many flags thrown on illegal tackles and blocks, and far too many thrown against “the sidelines,” especially against coaches for exiting their areas of legal restraint.  Also, we continue to hear bleacher explicatives from out-of-control fans.

RHS Coach Paul Gips, Mr. Respected

To my mind, the #1 goal of every coach, team captain and booster fan should be to teach and demonstrate good sportsmanship.  Otherwise, wins and titles are meaningless.

In other words, let me here state my strong support for the priority of teaching and practicing self-discipline.

A Bird Who Loved His Game

Self-discipline has to be taught and learned.  Our most successful coaches knew that, and so did most of their players.  Those who made a name for themselves without it, have a huge and uncomplimentary  *asterik alongside their names.




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