Sportsmanship Isn’t Just for Sports

Dr. P.M. Forni spoke Thursday night at Drake University about civility. Too bad some of you missed it. You could have learned a few things about self-restraint and handling your emotions.

Thursday night, I sat in on a lecture by Dr. P.M. Forni about civility as part of the “Better Together Iowa” series, hosted by Drake University, Character Counts in Iowa, IPTV, and Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, among several sponsors. 

I won’t get into the intellectual discussion of what Forni said and what I dissected.  I found another way to describe it. 

Pee-Wee football, high school, colleges, and the NHL shake hands after the game has ended.

By using sports again. 

A time honored tradition in American sports is the handshake at the end of the games by both teams.  There is always a losing team and a winning team.  Losing sucks, but at the end of the competition, if your opponent played a better game, made fewer mistakes, and did the little things, they deserve to win, in spite of a clock operator screwing up, a referee with a “gotcha agenda”, and other silly innate distractions. 

From Little League to college, we are taught to be civil and show good sportsmanship as kids. 

It’s when we become adults that we stop acting like kids, and start acting like blood-thristy sharks.  Lack of self-restraint, becoming defensive, shouting someone down for having a different opinion, and always (always) trying to get the last word in every argument. 

Unlike Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy shows class and civility regardless if he won or lost a game. Many of us are sore losers and want to take it out on others. That causes violence.

You don’t have to win every argument, and get pissed when you lose.  Being a sore loser is just as bad in real life as it is in sports.  As much as we love sports and advocate sportsmanship, not using those same principles in our non-sports daily life is cheating ourselves.

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