Definition of SPORTSMANSHIP
: conduct (as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport
We are a competitive bunch. Be it a game of cards, some stall mucking or a roll on the mats we get a good and rowdy family war going, but it's all in fun. Talking it up or taking it down, the practice of good sportsmanship is a show of good conduct and Godly respect.
Can we compete, determine a winner or loser, go to battle without disrespecting our competitors? We can; and we do. Going into a competitive situation, both knowing the purpose of the situation as well as your own frame of mind sets the stage for good sportsmanship practices.
First: What is the purpose of the competition? To train? To learn? Is it play? Or sport? Knowing the purpose of the competition sets an appropriate frame of mind. None of these situations call for violence or malice between the competitors, nor does it call for abusive language or actions. The purpose here is positive interaction with a competitive spirit leading to a fair outcome. Even a sport against a rival opponent does not carry the purpose of a negative spirit of competition..or, it shouldn't.
Second: What is your frame of mind? Are you entering in with a right attitude? With respect for the competitor? With respect for others attending or viewing the competition? Often our frame of mind determines the course of our actions; definitely true in a competitive setting. Training in a sports environment our frame of mind keeps us and our partners safe. It helps us set up an attitude of teaching one another and being cautious of those weaker or less skilled. With games and other sports, our frame of mind can give us a winning edge without taking us to the extreme mode of belligerence.
Our purpose and mindset in a competitive situation is clearly seen when the event has come to the final outcome; win or lose, our attitude tells our heart. Can we respect our own actions as well played? Do we recognize the skill of our competitor? Give credit where credit is due; a begrudging handshake is not much better than no handshake, and 'in your face' bragging does not reveal a good attitude.
Since no one of us is perfect, sometimes a 'self-check' is needed. Personal accountability first, but often we don't recognize it in ourselves right off..so, as a family we try to keep each other in check. A sideline reminder to remember our purpose, reboot our mindset, and 'walk it off' is given before we re-enter the situation. If we just can't correct our frame of mind..it's time to step out respectfully and try again another day. Admit, apologize, and walk away when it just isn't there.
This family is competitive; we love a good rumble, but our purpose and our mindset must be right or the fun is lost. Whether in the game or on the sidelines, this family values the practice of good sportsmanship.