There don’t seem to be as many shining examples of good sportsmanship now as there was when I was a kid. I had the good fortune of catching the tail end of superior athletes without the aid of chemical enhancements, That still does exist today, but I think the average athlete is doing whatever they can to skirt the rules so they become more than average because of how short some sports related careers can be.
I think I also had the good fortune growing up to have experienced coaches who knew a thing or two. They had either been former colligate athletes who retained a lot of knowledge and knew how to apply that knowledge on our level or were still playing on a regular basis in armature leagues and brought those weekly experiences to us.
Let me start getting to the crux of my point here. I had played baseball a good number of years. Right up until middle school for that matter and had become a very proficient catcher. During my tenure in little league I had experienced my shares on wins and loses and learned how to properly celebrate and learn from each experience. There was always room for improvement.
Early on one of the loses I experienced was a blowout. The “ten run rule” or “mercy rule” was put into effect. This is basically where a team has run up the score by 10 or more runs and it is clear that the opposing team has no chance of catching up. I think this is a great rule for the younger players. It keeps the demoralization of the losing team to a minimum and it shows the dominating team that there is a limit and you need to learn when to shake hands, say “nice game”, and walk away.
I have also been on the winning side of this. It is a great feeling to know that you can crush an opponent, but two things stood out to my young mind at the time. I already knew how much it sucked to be on that loosing end and didn’t want my opponents to have to deal with any longer than necessary. It also sucked to be riding the pine with a couple of the other top players because your coach was trying to level the field before the score got out of hand.
More and more now I notice that good sportsmanship will get set aside for a variety of reasons. Disagreement on a call by an official being at the top of the list, but at the same time also trying to adhere to the rules and regulations set forth. They are there for a reason, but when the score get to be 24 to 1 and your on your third go around of the batting order call the game. I don’t give a dam if the regulation says at least 4 innings must be played. How much more does the loosing team have to be demoralized and I don’t even know where to start with the coaches of the winning team. I guess it was leave your ethics at home day.
Using common sense will always leave more marks in the positive column than the negative when it comes to sportsmanship. Its just a matter of you know, using it.