The BIG EAST Conference and its member institutions are participating in the National Sportsmanship Day (NSD) 20th anniversary celebration today. The Institute for International Sport founded NSD in 1991 with the objective of engaging athletes and other community members in thoughtful discussions and well planned activities about the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of NSD, the Institute will host a major reception on March 1, 2011 to honor the late Senators Claiborne Pell and John Chaffee, both of whom played major roles in helping launch National Sportsmanship day in 1991. Since its first celebration in 1991, National Sportsmanship Day has been celebrated in tens of thousands of schools, not only in the United States but throughout the world, and by millions of students, teachers, coaches and parents.
One of the first and most important NSD collaborations was a partnership that the Institute forged with USA Today. For the last 19 years, USA Today has greatly enhanced the growth of National Sportsmanship Day through a national essay contest. Nearly 10,000 young people have entered the essay contest, which USA Today considers as one of its most valuable youth-related initiatives. Although Webster’s Dictionary defines sportsmanship as, “The qualities and conduct befitting a sportsman or sportswoman” every person probably has a little different view on its meaning. The BIG EAST Conference, under the direction of its Senior Woman Administrators, has put together its own collection of thoughts and ideas about sportsmanship.
Here are a few thoughts our student-athletes have on what sportsmanship means to them…
Sportsmanship is about leaving yourself on the field but not losing yourself on the field. Our coaches tell us that if we work hard, work smart, play together and stay classy we will have success. They haven’t failed us yet.—Kerry McBride, Marquette soccer student-athlete.
Sportsmanship means playing as hard as you can within the rules of the game. More than that though, sportsmanship is about treating teammates, opponents, officials and coaches all with respect.”—Robert Brickley, Connecticut men’s soccer student-athlete.
We play in matches and games; we compete on and off the field of pay, and one of our goals, as leaders amongst our teams is to represent Villanova University, our Athletics Department and our fellow student-athletes to be the best of our ability by respecting our coaches, our opponents and the officials of the contests.—Villanova Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).
Recognizing the ability of a competitor regardless of the competition’s outcome. It’s a simple exchange between individuals honoring the sacrifice each have made to stand on the track. Sportsmanship adds value to a victory and humbles a defeat. It connects the person to the sport and al the athletes devoted to it. Ultimately, sportsmanship is respect.—Jenna Heaton, Cincinnati track & field student-athlete.
Sense of appreciation for those competing alongside you and against you. It’s a recognition of the commitment and effort that we give to a life of athletic competition and a mentality of mutual respect for those who share your passion and give their all to help their team.—Emily Crosby, Notre Dame rowing student-athlete.
It is holding your head high after a tough loss, and it is composing yourself in a respectful manner after a huge win. But most importantly, it is a representation of who you are and what you stand for.—Emmy Simpkins, Rutgers soccer student-athlete.
The ability to take part in a sport and give everyone respect. The ability to lose a game or meet and be able to go to the other competitors and show congratulations without hostility. Sportsmanship is the act of abiding by all rules, even those that aren’t directly stated, and being an athlete full of integrity, respect, love and good competitiveness.—Shaniel Chambers, South Florida track & field student-athlete.
Sportsmanship entails always playing fairly and following the rules of the game, as well as giving your best effort at all times. Someone with sportsmanship is able to separate the result of a contest, won or lost, from their attitude toward others; teammates, fans, officials and opponents all must always be treated with respect. Sportsmanship is celebrating the effort of a team, not mourning a defeat. Good sports are proud of their teammates for giving their all, even if they have lost. All in all, sportsmanship means that you still treat the game as just that—a game.—Benjamin Forrest, Rutgers track & field student-athlete.
Sportsmanship lies in the details, the little things that can only be seen with close attention. It is accepting, without retaliation, a poor call. A humble celebration after scoring. Genuinely saying “great game” or wishing the opposing team “good luck” after coming off a hard loss. By no means is sportsmanship flashy; it is more of a glow.—Jamie Lipski, Providence field hockey student-athlete.
It is more than just shaking hands at the beginning or and end of games. It is more than treating the other team and its staff with respect despite the competitive nature of our sport basketball. Some might argue that it even includes patting an opponent on the back when they have made a great move or blocked an awesome shot. But sportsmanship in my eyes takes the shape of holding friendly conversations with the guy in the striped shirt who works the table during the games. It is holding friendly conversations with the refs in between plays and showing an appreciation for these people as more than just workers, but people who love the game and sport of basketball just as much as we do!—Alex Maseko, Seton Hall basketball student-athlete.
We will learn to trust one another off the field so we can learn to trust each other on the field.—Notre Dame softball team sportsmanship guidelines.
Sportsmanship is giving everything you have and competing with pride for your team and respect for your opponent.—Kenny Crapse, Louisville swimming & diving student-athlete.
Being an athlete is more than just exhibiting athleticism. It is about the person as a whole, showing respect for the other players.—Kim Lisiak, Notre Dame swimming & diving student-athlete.
Winning is the ultimate goal in any competition, but displaying good sportsmanship is just as important. “Victory is said to only last a moment, so why try to reduce someone’s achievement when with the act of losing graciously, you have achieved something all your own.” – Christina Conley, Providence cross-country student-athlete.
To win with class and to lose with integrity; treat your opponents with respect at any given situation.—Mikelyn Messina, Rutgers softball student-athlete.
Having the ability to acknowledge another team’s or competitor’s achievements in the same way you would want your achievements to be acknowledged. It also includes being a respectful winner and loser. To be over the top and flaunt one’s success or complain and point fingers after a loss is not upholding good sportsmanship.—Jennifer Betz, Rutgers swimming & diving student-athlete.
Respect is a big component of sportsmanship. Student-Athletes, coaches and fans should show their opponents respect before, during and after the competition. “Giving your opponents your absolute best and, whatever the outcome, being able to walk away with respect for the other team and pride in yourself.”—Meghan Cunningham, Connecticut soccer student-athlete.
Sportsmanship is having respect for yourself, your team, and your opponent. It means competing with honesty, integrity and justice.—Darlene Ramdin, St. John’s volleyball student-athlete.
Sportsmanship has been invoked in athletes since they were children lining up after a game to high five. It can be seen in the smallest acts like getting a loose ball for your opponent or helping an opponent up when they have fallen on the field or court. Such simple acts are often overlooked, however, they are significant aspects of every game. For sportsmanship is a display of respect for your opponent and your sport.— Villanova, freshman lacrosse student-athlete.
Sportsmanship means respecting the other team because we are all student-athletes. Even though we come from different backgrounds and compete for different schools, we share the same experiences as student-athletes and you have to respect that. And respecting your opponent is one of the greatest forms of sportsmanship.—Sean Lamont, Georgetown baseball student-athlete.
Having respect for your opponent on and off the field. Even though you are representing different teams and different schools, there is a camaraderie all athletes share. It is about having that respect for your opponent- both as a person and as a competitor- no matter what happens during the course of the game.—John Galloway, Syracuse lacrosse student-athlete.
Respect for the game and the opponent. We have the opportunity to play at the highest level against the best teams and at the end of the game, win or loss sportsmanship sets the standard to respect the players, the coaches, the fans and the referees. Good sportsmanship encompasses body language as well as communication. It awards the passion that everyone brings to the game and it acknowledges the love of the game.—Georgetown, senior lacrosse student-athletes.
Sportsmanship is the epitome of respecting teammates, competitors, officials, coaches and fans in competition for a singular goal or prize.—Jimmy Crick, Louisville soccer student-athlete.
Integrity for your sport and for your opponent is essential for all student-athletes to have both on and off the playing field. “Sportsmanship to me is competing with character. It is holding yourself to a standard that demonstrates a certain level of integrity.”—Ayana Dunning, West Virginia basketball student-athlete.
Playing the game you love and are passionate about with relentless effort no matter the score or how much time is left on the clock. Playing your best with respect for your opponent, fans, and the game itself. Not cheating or cutting corners to get ahead in the game. Knowing how to win in an honorable manner and take a loss with the same mind set without excuses or negative attitude to the victor.—Rob Trigg, Cincinnati football student-athlete.
Sportsmanship is about displaying a positive attitude and encouraging others in any situation, event or game and competing with maturity, no matter the result.—Chinwe Okoro, Louisville track & field student-athlete.
Sportsmanship is an aspect of the game that student-athletes will keep with them long after the competition is over. Watching teammates or even opponents display good sportsmanship can leave a lasting impression on a student-athlete. “During the spring 2010 women’s lacrosse season a huge snow storm hit the Mid-Atlantic region, covering Villanova’s turf field with snow. Maintenance was unable to plow the turf for the game against Bryant University. Not wanting to cancel the game, Bryant University offered to host the game on their field and Villanova graciously offered to sacrifice the home field advantage and travel to Bryant’s campus for the game. The compromise by both teams allowed the game to be played.” –Villanova, senior lacrosse student-athlete.
After every game, my high school team prayed in a circle around the mound. My freshman year, after one of our games, one of our seniors asked players from the other team if they wanted to be a part of our team prayer. They said yes and has now become a tradition at my high school that after every game, the visiting team is invited to pray, holding hands in a circle with both teams intertwining. That’s sportsmanship.—Shannon Kelly, Notre Dame softball student-athlete.
On many occasions, I have experienced good sportsmanship when after a hard and fierce race, an opponent leans across the lane-line to shake hands. I think being able to walk away from a race in good terms with your opposition is always a good sign of sportsmanship!—Stephen Cunningham, Cincinnati swimming & diving student-athlete.
Read about how Louisville is celebrating National Sportsmanship Day