After watching countless hours of NFL and NCAA football this fall and winter, I have seen an overwhelming trend in a dramatic lack of sportsmanship across the entire sports world that causes me to ask, “Where does this come from?”
This slope is becoming even more slippery due to the overwhelming media blitz that is thrust upon our youth every day. We hear and see the same stories of taunting, fighting, and classlessness that makes me cringe.
One disgusting example of this was during the Capital One Bowl where two players had a fist fight during the game which caused both of them to be ejected. One of those players was later named the “Most Valuable Player” of the game due to his performance prior to that point in the 3rd quarter. Not only do I have a problem with the actions of both players, but the fact that he would even be in the running to be the MVP of the game is ridiculous. Whoever made that decision should be ashamed of what kind of message that is sending. The MVP’s team ended up losing the game, but I’m sure it hasn’t crossed his mind that may be his own fault.
In light of this, I felt compelled to find some information to be able to share with parents and coaches to help all of us strengthen our sense of sportsmanship with our youth. I found an outstanding website by the Josephson Institute’s Center for Sports Ethics that has articles, blogs, and videos that cover a wide range of topics in regards to sportsmanship, coaching, and leadership.
I was especially intrigued by a post from November 23rd, 2011 titled “How do you teach kids to deal with mistakes?” and by a video from John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, about a program called “Pursuing Victory With Honor”.
These were extremely powerful to me and I hope it helps us strengthen the values of our youth and bring class and character back to the court, field, and rink where our athletes play.