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Sportsmanship against showmanship

Sophomores+Koream+Jett+and+Rickie+Wedlow+shake+hands+after+their+basketball+game+against+Arsenal+Tech.
Sophomores Koream Jett and Rickie Wedlow shake hands after their basketball game against Arsenal Tech.

Sophomores Koream Jett and Rickie Wedlow shake hands after their basketball game against Arsenal Tech.

Scout Wampler

Scout Wampler

Sophomores Koream Jett and Rickie Wedlow shake hands after their basketball game against Arsenal Tech.

Shylah Gibson, Editor-in-Chief

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As he walked off the field his face beamed with pride, despite the fact that his team lost, he knew that he had given the game his all.

“Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost,” professional tennis player Jim Courier said. “He carries himself with pride either way.”

Sportsmanship has played a major role in all sports.

“I have seen a change in sportsmanship,” Athletic Director Larry Cochren said. “To the better and positive because the IHSAA [Indiana High School Athletic Association] has put a lot more emphasis on it and it is now just a matter of getting young people to understand that it is not all lost when you lose a contest so I have seen some improvement.”

Others have said they have seen an increase in sportsmanship themselves.

“Some schools have a lot better sportsmanship than others and that goes for coaches too,” Official Tony Sonsini said. “With the emphasis of sportsmanship being a key from the IHSAA for schools you do see an increasement overall.”

Some people believe there has been no change.

“I think that sportsmanship has stayed the same,” Football coach Abe Tawfeek said. “After games, the players always shake hands. I think sportsmanship is part of the culture of sports across America and I think by shaking hands it is a sign of respect and it allows the sportsmanship culture to keep going.”

The act of sportsmanship has been seen as game changing.

“Sportsmanship changes every game,” senior James Hall said. “There is always someone who doesn’t know how to show good sportsmanship but the way I see it, you give respect and you’ll receive respect. If you can’t show respect then you won’t receive it from me or the guys, simple as that. Sportsmanship is a part of the game.”

Sportsmanship is not all about the players, but also shown from coaches and fans.

“In certain situations, some fans are worse than others,” Sonsini said. “Obviously they think that they are always right so you do get the unsportsmanlike fans who are rude and disrespectful. Some coaches are worse than others but some coaches are really good about it.”

There are some cases where sportsmanship may not be practiced.

“After the whistle they throw cheap shots, when someone falls they don’t try to pick them back up,” Sonsini said. “Again, if a team and a coach emphasize sportsmanship then you see the kids helping them up or not talking back to officials when they don’t agree with a call.”

Tawfeek also shared an episode where sportsmanship was not shown.

“I’ve seen some tempers flare at certain times,” he said. “Guys sometimes get upset about it, they have gotten into altercations about it, maybe get ejected from games. I’ve seen some guys not shake hands before a game due to not respecting someone. If you look at college football this year, the University of Oklahoma quarterback had a game against TCU I believe, during the pregame he was a captain and he didn’t shake his hand, he went to shake the other guys’ hands and they didn’t shake his hand which upset him. He ended up doing some unsportsmanlike things during the game which became the story of his unsportsmanlike conduct, but nobody really said anything about the unsportsmanlike conduct of the other team during the game.”

There have also been issues with sportsmanship in other sports.

“Out of all of the years I played in my high school career, the sportsmanship was the same,” senior Denis Herrera said. “I would get kicked and fouled a lot and most of the time the refs wouldn’t call anything. If I was to ever do anything the refs would be all over me, and for me that wasn’t good sportsmanship from them and the other teams. I learned that I have to play my game and have good sportsmanship even when the situation is tough.”

The level of intensity in sports may also change the sportsmanship shown in the game.

“Some sports are really physical like soccer, and football,” Cochren said. “You’re going to have folks get a little upset and have a higher threshold of anger when something happens in those more physical sports.”

Coaches play a large role in the sportsmanship practiced by athletes.

“In my former school I coached at an inner city school and there were some kids who came from some pretty rough environments so anytime we played a game against our cross town rivals, the administrators from both schools always wanted to have us not shake hands after the games,” Tawfeek said. “Even though we, the coaches, wanted to do it and felt like we should be doing it, the administration made the determination that we shouldn’t do it to avoid any unseen circumstances. Maybe a kid saying something and then getting into a fight, we have made adjustments here and there but I’m the guy that regardless of the outcome, I’m going to tell my team to put their helmets on, hold their heads high and keep it moving. It’s just a game, if we put too much emphasis on it it teaches life lessons but it is just a game.”

The act of sportsmanship may be evaded by some people because of their personalities.

“I think that sportsmanship depends on the kind of person you are,” junior Eva Bosell said. “Personally as I’ve gotten older, I’ve matured more as an athlete and my sportsmanship has gotten better. I feel like that’s how most student athletes are. However, I also have noticed the older some athletes get, the less sportsmanship they have because they become cocky or more competitive.”

Showmanship has often been a factor in the use of sportsmanship also.

“For most pro and high school sports, all you see or hear about is showmanship so it overrides sportsmanship,” Bosell said. “However, I believe sportsmanship is more important because it shows who you are and your school, it’s something colleges will be looking at as well as showmanship.”

In many sports, there are stories of officials being for the opposing team, which may not always be the case.

“The hardest is whenever you see two good teams really getting after it, especially in basketball, it starts to get chippy and you can tell who’s coach has really emphasized sportsmanship because sooner or later it begins to clean up,” Sonsini said. “A lot of that depends on where you’re at because some schools are worse than others.”

One of the key ideas of the IHSAA is sportsmanship and the use of it.

“The IHSAA has always done a good job promoting sportsmanship,” Tawfeek said. “It’s all over their posters, it’s kind of the main message. We want to have high quality athletes who respect the game and respect each other enough to show that regardless of the outcome you still have dignity and respect for yourself and the other team. You show that through your sportsmanship.”

Under the list of “Responsibilities of the Student-Athlete” on the IHSAA website, number five states, “Accept both victory and defeat with pride and compassion, being neither boastful nor bitter.”

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About the Writer
Shylah Gibson, Editor-in-Chief

I am a senior and I play softball. I plan to attend college at either IUPUI or University of Indianapolis and study forensic science and maybe journalism...

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Sportsmanship against showmanship