Sure, Winning is Great, but Good Sportsmanship is More Than That

Z backstroke

We often hear that “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” In a perfect world, that might be true. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And there’s no question that it feels a lot better at the end of a game to have won rather than lost.

But there’s a big difference between “winning” and “winning at any cost.”

Z backstrokeMy 12-year-old daughter has played softball, basketball, volleyball, and been a competitive swimmer for several years. And I’ve been involved in competitive sports for as long as I can remember, playing Little League, lettering in swimming and baseball in high school, competing in martial arts, and playing in adult softball leagues. Over that time, I’ve seen plenty of examples of good—and bad—sportsmanship.

In one basketball game this past year, my daughter’s 6th-grade team was getting slaughtered by a taller, faster, older, and more skilled team. We were down something like 20-4 at the half and there was clearly no way we were going to make it close. So I was surprised that at the start of the second half, the opposing coach continued to play his starters. His players kept stealing the ball, blocking shots, running plays, picking and rolling, and widening their lead. I honestly don’t remember what the score was at the end—and I honestly don’t care.

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Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment

[amazon asin=0762786655&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Luis Fernando Llosa, co-author of Beyond Winning.
Topic:
Smart parenting in a toxic sports environment
Issues: Why kids shouldn’t do organized sports until about age 11; the importance of not trying to live your sports fantasies through your children; avoiding bullying, trash talk, and elitism; picking sports based on your child’s developmental stage; suggestions for how to revamp the youth sports industry.

Beyond Winning + LTG William E. Ingram + LTG Michael Ferriter

[amazon asin=0762786655&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Luis Fernando Llosa, co-author of Beyond Winning.
Topic:
Smart parenting in a toxic sports environment
Issues: Why kids shouldn’t do organized sports until about age 11; the importance of not trying to live your sports fantasies through your children; avoiding bullying, trash talk, and elitism; picking sports based on your child’s developmental stage; suggestions for how to revamp the youth sports industry.

LTG IngramLTG William E. Ingram, Jr. Director, Army National Guard


LTG FerriterLTG Michael Ferriter, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) and Commanding General, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM)