I’ve been doing some thinking. About sportsmanship. And particularly about behaviours that I find unacceptable, those that “cross the line”.
Here’s what’s not cool in my book:
- It is not cool to make fun of people who are slow.
- It is not cool to make fun of people who have challenges – be it intellectual or physical.
- It is not cool to make fun of people for their body shape.
- It is not cool to cheat.
- It is not cool to accuse people of cheating.
- It is not cool to promote yourself falsely or at the expense of others.
For me that list is ass hat behaviour that crosses the line.
Surely we should want to aspire to be more – to be better – than that list? I know I do.
According to Merriam-Webster:
Sportsmanship means fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behaviour by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition.
I came late to sport, as a reult of growing up with chronic injury and being discouraged from any physical activity as my parents tried to keep me safe and out of pain. Amazing how it used to think that staying away from activity would help my body to stay injury free and strong – how thinking has changed in the last years!
Even though I did not grow up playing sports, I don’t think it takes experience in sport to teach good sportsmanship.It only takes a good sense of right and wrong. And a desire to be the best person you can be.
When it comes to me and sport and sportsmanship, here’s what I want. I want to be supportive. I want to encourage people to get active no matter what their condition or challenge. I want to help people discover their better selves by participating in sport. All of this is perfectly aligned with good sportsmanship. And none of this is on the list of ass hat behaviours above.
Here’s my ask: aspire to more. Don’t cross the line and don’t do the things on the list. Instead, be the best person you can be. In doing so you will automatically be a good sport.