This post is sponsored by Verizon FiOS as part of the #FIOSPhilly Campaign.
“Victory is remembered for at most two decades; an act of good sportsmanship is remembered for a lifetime.” – Simon Nguyen
I grew up in a sports family and started playing sports at the age of 4 years-old. My dad (who was also my coach) taught me a few valuable lessons; hustle on and off the field, have a positive attitude during practices and games, shake off my mistakes, and whether I win or lose, do it with dignity.
This carried me all the way until college, when I hung up my bat and glove. Now that I have two boys that play sports, I’ve continued to teach them the same valuable lessons my dad taught me. I don’t care if my kids are the best on the team or if they lose every game. What I care about is the way they play the game and the respect they give to the coaches and their teammates. These simple lessons will be the foundation for them throughout their lives….on and off the field.
Last year during a baseball tournament, I realized I was doing a pretty good job teaching them about sportsmanship. My 9 year-old struck out and as he headed to the dug out, he gently put away his equipment, turned to look at me, and flashed me a little smile. I gave him a big thumbs up and told him to shrug it off. The next kid got up to bat and hit a triple. My son jumped up and down and when that kid crossed home plate, my son was the first one to run out and give him a big high five. He was so happy for his teammate. That moment made me so proud to be his mom.
Below are important lessons I try to teach my boys on what it takes to have good sportsmanship and what their dad and I expect from them:
- Play by the rules
- Listen to your coach
- Don’t throw your equipment, ever!
- Cheer on your teammates
- Respect your opponents
- Learn from your mistakes
- Don’t be hard on yourself…it’s just a game
- Stay positive
- Be a good teammate
- Always play fair
- Accept the judgement calls, even if you don’t agree
- Say ‘thank you’ to the coaches, volunteers, etc.
- Be on time
- Don’t make excuses
- Practices are just as important as games
- No trash talking
- Take care of your sports equipment
- Lose with grace
- Win without bragging
- Most importantly, have fun!
Before each practice or game, I tell my boys to have fun and try their best. When they are done, I always tell them how proud I am of them. I’ll point out good things I saw them do, like when they helped a friend find his glove or told the opposing team what a great shot they made. I want them to know these little things do not go unnoticed.
Probably one of the best way to teach your child about sportsmanship is to lead by example. Even as a parent sitting on the sidelines, your child is watching you. You want them to feel encouraged and not stressed that you are upset because they aren’t performing well. If you act out, they will think that’s acceptable behavior.
Also, surround your kids with positive messaging around youth sports by watching movies that will inspire them. There are a thousands of free movies On Demand, but here are just a few of our favorite sports movies:
- Field of Dreams
- The Karate Kid
- The Big Green
- The Blind Side
- Bad News Bears
- Rookie of the Year
- Remember the Titans
- The Sandlot
- The Might Ducks
- Cool Runnings
- A League of their Own
I’ll leave you with this quote…..“Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way.” – Jim Courier
This post is sponsored by Verizon FiOS as part of the #FIOSPhilly Campaign. All opinions found here are strictly my own.