Monday, February 2, 2009

I win, you lose mentality

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”
~Heywood Broun

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.


  1. I completely agree with you and this quote as well. I play ultimate frisbee (which is a self-officiating sport) so you can easily get a feel for peoples integrity when playing. There are some teams that I love to play, and some that are just really dirty with their calls and how they play. It gets frustrating when you lose a game because of a bad call, but like you said, people notice your character (good or bad). The goal is always to leave a tournament winning and have good integrity. Ultimate actually has something called, "spirit of the game" that most teams strive for. It is basically to have a good attitude, other teams vote for who the "best" team was at the end of the tournament.

  2. I think character is so important in sports, I have played sports for a number of years, enough to know that attitude is everything. Yes of course you need talent, but when it comes down to what team is better, it is going to be the one with the best attitude. But the attitude can not just come out during games or matches, it must come everytime you step on the court or field. This means when it is practice time, you are working the best you can, when you wake up at 5 am for conditioning, you do the best you can at whatever you have to do.

    For some people attitude is a problem, I have had many teammates in the past like that, but the way I look at it is, you can be the best you want to be. If you work hard everytime you play your sport, then when the day comes and you have to hand in your jersey, you will be pround of everything you have achieved, become, and made of you name.Character is makes up who you are and who you will become.

  3. I agree to an extent, sports do show character not build it. The pressure od the game and season can be and are frustating but, anger does come with the territory. Im not saying that everyone should be angery,but their are those moments where anger and agression are useful. Ocourse I'm talking about football, anger is good but controling it is the key. When playing sports you do show your true side. Theres no way to hide because your focused on the game and your part in it.

    I also agree that being sportsman like is best in competition period. No one likes that perosn that shoves a win in your face, or vis versa blames others and is a "soar looser." Its a cobination of both your character and values.