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Sportsmanship: A Deeper Understanding and Its Importance Beyond Sports

By Sean Dailey, Decatur Parks & Recreation, 01/15/19, 12:00PM CST


No matter how much we would like to, we can’t win at everything every time. So we need to learn to deal with it. 

I recently asked the kids involved in DPR’s Youth Sports and Fitness class to define sportsmanship. As you would expect, I received a myriad of answers.  

One of the younger children defined it as “shaking hands at the end of the game,” another as “being nice to the other team,” and finally an older kid recited the Golden Rule. 

None of the answers were wrong, but neither did they show an understanding past the buzzword status sportsmanship is often given.  

The word “sportsmanship” is fashionable to promote for many schools, youth leagues and sports associations. But are these organizations building a deeper understanding of what sportsmanship truly means or are they perpetuating a superficial understanding of just being “nice” and “shaking hands at the end”?