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By Janet Adetu

Good sportsmanship is one of those life lessons that are really not taught but becomes part of you as life goes along. The art of being a good sportsman is not a case of winner takes all, but a pat on the back for the winners and a handshake for the losers. A case of well-done but better luck next time.

If I should phrase it in another way, there is a “Golden Rule” about “Good Sportsmanship”.  It is not whether you win or lose the game, but “How” you accept victory or defeat. It is just a game, it is fantastic to win, it gives you a sense of triumph and victory, a sense of pride and achievement, a sense of being a winner. On the other hand losing a game does make one feel dejected, disappointed, unhappy and a loser.

The dictionary defines sportsmanship as ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behavior while participating in a game or a sporting event. The key words for me are all about your conduct, attitude, fair play, courtesy and the grace to lose.

Today the championship league is ongoing as well as the premiership league. I listen to my husband, brother and brother in law as they defend their teams. In the spirit of sportsmanship, they jokingly tease each other when it is a tough pill to swallow. Sports and competition is experienced, if poorly handled can generate into very bad behavior as well as unacceptable attitudes.

It is important we teach our children not to dominate or overpower during sports events, but teach them how to embrace the other team if they have lost or take the fall as graciously as they can. Losing today does not by any means indicate that you cannot come back and win tomorrow. Good sportsmanship takes effort as a team, we see during the Olympics a team that bags a gold medal will tell you of the countless sleepless nights and multiple hours of constant practice they put in to get them all synchronized and ready to win the race.

I agree that an element of luck at times sets in but of course this is uncontrollable. In football they say it’s not over till it’s over, right till the last one minute. Most men hold their hearts in their hand when a crucial game is on, sometimes they are pacing the room, panty and sweating out of uncertainty, they then jubilate with excitement when their team wins or completely feel dejected almost to the point of not eating for hours or days later, just because their team lost.

Whether it is football, tennis, golf, or athletics there is a great deal of respect you must cultivate for yourself and other players especially your opponent. We have seen cases where some players go to the extreme of taking substances to give themselves an upper hand, all in the name of a possible higher rate of winning. This is very poor sportsmanship, it is simply called “Cheating”. All you need to do is be a good sport.

Tips for being a Good Sportsman.

  1. Remember you represent a team its not just about you.
  2. Agree on the rules of the game and play to the rules.
  3. Play free and fair no cheating allowed, go in the game with a neutral mind whether you win or lose.
  4. Show respect for your team mates and for yourself too.
  5. Show respect to whoever is your coach or trainer.
  6. Show respect to all officials on duty.
  7. Have fun while playing or participating in any game.
  8. Celebrate your opponent if they won by congratulating them immediately after the game.
  9. Bow out gracefully if it is clear you lost the game.
  10. Watch your verbal and physical body language, foul talk can mark you down.
  11. If you are a fan learn to support your team through thick and thin, it is called being a “die hard supporter”.
  12. Win or lose you are still a winner.
  13. All forms of misbehaviors, bad language or physical should be avoided at all costs.
  14. Whatever the decision is of the game respect that decision.
  15. Enjoy the game with friends, family or team members.

It’s all about being a good sportsman.


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