Coming from India I am used to the term “sportsman spirit” and here you hear your kids say “sportsmanship”. Both are the same I think. The dictionary definition is profound and powerful!
“Sportsmanship” refers to virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage, and persistence, and has been associated with interpersonal concepts of treating others and being treated fairly, maintaining self-control if dealing with others, and respect for both authority and opponents.
What prompted this subject was attending a tennis tournament my son was participating in. Spending the whole day watching the kids play matches, their parents on the sidelines and the interactions between all was like being inside of Facebook Live! In one singles game, my son Yaani had a strong experienced opponent. I’ll call him the Hero of our story. One could tell that by the way he lifted the ball with the side of his shoe, his choosing from a repertoire of rackets and his fancy head and hand accessories. When they finished a game, Yaani would pass the balls to our Hero by hand, during their water break, so he could put them in his pocket and be ready for his serve. In contrast our hero would toss the balls in Yaani’s court and he would have to go around and collect them before he was ready to serve. This happened after each game. And although our Hero was winning, Yaani continued to be courteous.
By the 5 Th game I noticed our Hero also handed the balls to Yaani!
OMG I could feel my eyes moisten! Yaani was a true sportsman in my eyes…no matter what the score was! I could kiss him that moment!
In another match, two of them were neck to neck, the opponent who was losing, stopped and started crying halfway. Had to be consoled as he did not want to go back and finish the match.
Sportsmanship and Winning a game are totally different.
But I think Sportsmanship and Winning in life have a strong correlation!
Rigorous coaching, practicing something over and over, sweating, hurting, winning and losing are all crucial steps in building your character.
Looking back I realize when I was training and playing competitive badminton, the attitude of my coach, parents and colleagues shaped my outlook towards the game. The things I learnt were hard work, practice, practice and practice is key, working as a team supporting each other comes before individual gains. From my parents perspective the sport was beneficial for my physical well being and building confidence!
Today I can often relate some of my strengths, actions and thinking to the sport of badminton that I played rigorously when I was in school. Respect for the sport, for your opponent and yourself is an amazing thing sports teaches you. Also honestly, patience, fairness, not giving up , courteousness, winning or losing gracefully and persistence! Imagine how useful these are in our life’s journey!
Sports is like an amazing mentor from which the most valuable lesson I learnt was Sportsmanship!
Would love to hear your stories about any sports you or your kids play. Do share in the comments section below. And we sportingly KiteOn!
Here’s wishing everyone a relaxing, enjoyable summer break! With trips, family and friends over and kids at home , I still plan to post on a regularly irregular schedule! There’s my disclaimer! Whew!