Catching the Spirit The American Heritage Dictionary defines sportsmanship as, “an act in which one abides by the rules of a contest and accepts victory or defeat graciously.” All those in athletics are not the only ones who need to be good sportsmen. It must also be required by coaches, cheerleaders, fans, and school administrators. Two years ago, Morningside High School was in our junior varsity tournament. Since they traveled so far to be in our tournament, we treated them very well. We provided them with dinner and, and we let them stay the night at the homes of our players. Also, this year, we hosted a game against Crenshaw High School.. After each level played, we fed the players and their coaches. It was especially hard to feed the varsity team, because we had just lost to them. Though, when the teams left, my teammates and I felt good about ourselves and our program. I believe that some of the smallest gestures of sportsmanship can be effective. An example may be picking up your opponent when she falls on the ground, or patting them on the back while your team is going through the handshake at the end of a game. This season, my team and I lost the championship game of a tournament. After the other team received their trophies, my coach told me to go and shake their hands. I looked at him twice to see if I heard him correctly, because I am a competitor and after a loss, I am not too happy. Though, I shook their hands. Afterwards, I was proud of myself, and the incident gained me respect from my opponents and the people in the stands.
Sportsmanship is pleasant to see. It shows that athletes have learned morals, ethics, and integrity from their athletic experiences. Student- athletes, who display good sportsmanship, are positive role models within their school and their community. They know that good competition builds character and shapes attitudes. With good sportsmanship, the spirit of competition thrives and it ends with courteous relations and graceful acceptance of the results.