This month the powerful word of the month is sportsmanship.
Sportsmanship is considered “The Golden Rule” of competition. It’s usually associated with one’s attitude while competing in sports. However, good sportsmanship is important in all types of competition. And, while sportsmanship typically describes how participants act when competing themselves, sportsmanship can also refer to those who are spectating.
In fact, research tells us that how the spectators act at an event can have a profound effect on the players. When spectators are positive, the players act more positively. When the spectators act more negatively, so do the players. We are all responsible for the spirit of competition. Interestingly, recent research also shows that positive sportsmanship can be a great buffer on days when there are negative outcomes-- even when talking about adults at work (EJWOP, 2017)!
Good sportsmanship embodies the written and unwritten rules of a game. When we show good sportsmanship, we follow the known rules like “each competitor must wear the appropriate uniform.” But there are also “unwritten” rules that we must follow. For example, good sports know that cheating is wrong. They also know that showing grace when losing and kindness when winning is a respectful part of competition.
As key adults in the lives of children, it’s important to both talk to our children about good sportsmanship and show them what good sportsmanship looks like. This does not mean that we need to pretend we are happy when we lose or “neutral” when we win, but rather show respect no matter what the outcome.
© 2017 Powerful Words Character Development
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