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By Abbie Decker, Dyersville Beckman sophomore
DYERSVILLE – Some of the most memorable players aren’t always the ones who make the winning shot at the buzzer or have the game-winning hit.
The players who are never forgotten are the ones who show great respect for their opponents. People can’t help but get a little emotional when they see a player help their opponent off the floor. It’s just a moving moment that strikes everyone in the room.
Sportsmanship, for an athlete, is not just some word coaches preach before a game. It’s an action, or a way of life, every athlete lives by.
Every athlete is competitive. It’s the competitiveness that drives us to become a better player, but sometimes that competitiveness can get the best of us and our emotions begin to take over. Poor sportsmanship reflects badly on the player. People begin to think he/she is stuck up and only playing for themselves.
As an athlete, playing against teams that have poor sportsmanship is not a good feeling. The game usually turns into a dirty, rough game that reflects poorly on both teams. No one wants to play against a team that trash talks and mistreats the officials and other players. That is why good sportsmanship is such an important aspect for both the individual player and the team as a whole.
A team with good sportsmanship always is looked highly upon. No matter what their record is, other teams will look at them with respect.
Jim Courier, a famous tennis player from the United States, once said, “Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost. When he carries himself with pride either way.” This is a statement all athletes should live by.
It is not about if we won or lost the game, it is about how we act after the game that determines whether we won or lost. A true winner will hold his or her head high with honor and respect.
Sports have been part of my life since I was three-years-old. I can remember my dad always telling me before each game to have fun and play fair. When I was younger, I really had no idea what that even meant. As years went by, I finally began to understand the true meaning of sportsmanship.
It really didn’t hit me until my seventh-grade year when I playing against a team that had poor attitudes. As we were shaking hands at the end of the game, some of the other players would not touch our hands. It shocked me and upset that someone would treat me, and my team, like that. From that moment on, I decided that it was not worth it to stoop down and play at their level.
Sportsmanship for an athlete is like the golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. No matter what the score is, sportsmanship is the top priority in every game.