Good Game, My Friends

Good sportsmanship means that I respect the effort and sacrifices you put into your game, your profession, or any worthwhile goal. Are we missing the opportunity to pass this ideal to the next generation?

In our first foray into travel ball, we saw an interesting dynamic.

If you are part of one organization, you must dislike the nearby competitor. Cruel things were sometimes whispered and often the parents stayed distant from one another.

A few years later, players from those organizations might switch teams and make new friends. This confused them. Who are we supposed to dislike now? Parents had to uncomfortably sit beside people that used to be the “bad guys”.

When there is just one trophy it can bring out things in us that we dislike when we reflect upon them later. When our daughters pitched in college, there were rivalries with schools that I wanted to dislike because the games became intense at times, but our daughters did not see it that way. They understood that these kids also sacrificed so much in order to be at that level. They shared a bond. There was a high level of respect. The competitive fire was the greatest compliment one side could pay to the other.

Over the years I listened to our daughters talk about opposing pitchers and was surprised at the complimentary tone. They were learning much more than just softball. If we stay out of the way, sportsmanship comes naturally. Respect for someone who plays at her level is respect for herself and the work she has done. Thinking about it in that way can, and should, change our own perspective in many ways.