Sportsmanship a measurement of character

Sports are major social forces that shape the quality and character of American culture.

March 20, 2012 - Author: Terry Clark-Jones, Michigan State University Extension

We usually think of sports as a way to teach kids various physical skills, but youth sports offer many more learning experiences. According to the Josephson Institute of Ethics, there is a very little on the impact of participants on the social, emotional, intellectual and moral impact of participants. Our children learn behavior from the adults most important to them. Those important people could be a parent, teacher, coaches or a good friend. Either way, it is important that we model appropriate ways of being a good competitor or spectator.

Sports are major social forces that shape the quality and character of American culture. There are many ways adults can teach children and other adults to be a generous competitor, good loser and graceful winner.

  • Teach sportsmanship
    Require participants to demonstrate sportsmanship before, during and after a competitive event. This can be accomplished by following rules, be honest and fair, show respect, be well mannered and accept outcomes gracefully.
  • Applaud your children
    Be sure to express your appreciation to the children, other club and others you wish to express respect. Examples of this are to accept the ruling of the officials, congratulate all participants, remain positive at all times and be friendly.
  • Show respect to others
    Don’t heckle, boo, make rude comments or insult other spectators, competitors, coaches or officials. Try to keep emotions under control and give others the benefit of the doubt. Again show respect and please refrain from public arguments.
  • Be a polite participant
    Listen, act interested, and remains quiet when participants are introduced or when announcements are made. Stay till the end of the event, even if your child is finished competing. By doing this you are being a positive role model and showing integrity. Be objective and accept the nature of competition.
  • Show Courtesy to others
    Do not block the view of others when taking pictures or videos, standing in aisles or by jumping and standing up in moments of excitement. Always leave the viewing area clean by throwing away any litter.

By practicing the above examples, any event can be a pleasurable activity for all involved. Other excellent resources in the area of sportsmanship/competition are South Dakota State University Extension, and KidsHeath.

Tags: 4-h, food & health, healthy relationships, msu extension

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