The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines sportsmanship as “conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports, especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and graciousness in losing.” The National Federation of High School Athletics describes good sportsmanship “as a commitment to fair play, ethical behavior and integrity, [both] in perception and practice.” It defines sportsmanship “as those qualities that are characterized by generosity and genuine concern for others.” Furthermore “the ideals of sportsmanship apply equally to all…individuals, regardless of their role in athletics.”
Sportsmanship is defined in many different ways. Unfortunately, the predominant ideas about sportsmanship reflect the increasing secularization of our society. So called “trash” talk, disrespect for authority, “revenge” games, reducing man – the crown of God’s creation – to little more than an animal, and taking bullying to the stands or to the arena of play are common place today.
Christian, ethics, integrity, and sportsmanship are words that should be interchangeable when we discuss the Alabama Christian Athletics Association. Christian behavior and sporting behavior is one and the same. Borrowing and adopting the world’s conduct as our own is unacceptable, and has no place in competition between our schools.
Sportsmanship can be summed up as follows:
- Practice the golden rule…Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them (Matthew 7:12).
- Follow the rules… And also if anyone competes in athletics he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules (II Timothy 2:5 NKJV).
- Allow Him to rule…Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).
Don’t misunderstand. Be for your team. Appropriately involve yourself in the competition whether you are a participant, coach, parent, student, cheerleader, or the team mascot. Seek to win. Celebrate the victory when you win and be disappointed at the loss when you lose. BUT, always display good sportsmanship!