“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”
I one thousand percent agree with this quote. When the pressure is on, when you are put into stressful circumstances, then you know what the other person is like. You are going to play like you live your life. How you view your opponents, your teammates, and authority (coaches, referees, etc.), gives evidence to your opinion of mankind.
The impression you get of athletes comes from how they play. There was a team my school played against that we did not like. I'll call them the Eagles. We felt that the guys were arrogant and rude. One guy in particular was disliked by many. I'll call him Bob. In a tournament game, the Eagles was crushing the opposing team. So, this player, Bob, and one other player sat down on their side of the court and would not even play defense on the other team. Besides the fact that this wasn't helping their teammates, it was degrading to the other team. To treat the other team this way was unacceptable to my school. Eventually their coach caught on to what they were doing, and removed them from the court.
My team was far from perfect though. Tempers would rise over bad calls, or players would disagree with the coach. One girl received a technical because she punched the ground after a bad call. These things might be common in the sports world, but they do show you what a person is like. When people get angry about calls, it shows that anger is one of the ways they handle problems. They think that their opinion can be appreciated and respected by raising their voice. No, that might not be the exact thought process behind it. But, that's what they end up doing.
But bad character is not the only thing sports produce. The pressure from a game or the stress of the season can show how good a person's character is. When a player will listen to their coach, they show a teachability that carries into the work place or school. There was a player on our team who was always good. She never got mad, in school or basketball. She always listened to advice. Whenever she got frustrated, she didn't say anything or make a big deal about it. This showed that she would be calm in other situations and not resort to anger to get things accomplished.
You always have a favorite team to play against. Ask yourself why they are your favorite team. My favorite team was the Cougars. They were my favorite because they were honorable in their playing. They never played dirty, got in arguments with my team, or exuded arrogance. My team loved playing them because we knew that we could enjoy the game. There was competition and the fight to win, but it was a healthy type of competition. I even talked to their players after games and sat around with them during tournaments. I wasn't the only one from my team who felt that way. In my senior year, my team was in the second seed in the tournament. The Cougars were fourth and lost the first round. They ended up being last in the tournament, but they weren't angry about it. Yes, they were disappointed, but they all cheered for my team in the championship game, without jealousy. Their character shown through defeat. I know that challenged me to think about how I could be a better player.
As I look back on games, practices, and tournaments, I think about the different people I observed and how people would observe me. Sports are fun things. They do show your character and how you react to pressure. But, you can watch the progress of how people build their character. You never know who is watching and learning from your example.