Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Good Sport

The Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s called the Golden Rule and is a really good starting place for teaching ethics in any situation.

By now most of the civilized world (emphasis on civilized) has at least heard the story of the softball game between Central Washington U. and Western Oregon U. this week. The incredible act of sportsmanship by two girls from CWU in carrying an opponent around the bases after she was injured should be required reading to every young person involved in sports in the world.

But is anyone surprised that there has been something of an outcry from the dark side? Though most of us applaud the action, many say it was wrong because “sports is about winning.” One local baseball coach, sadly, was quoted as saying, “I can assure you that nobody from our team would have done that.” A litany of criticisms appeared on which comes as no surprise from a TV network where much of the dialogue intentionally takes on the verbiage and tone of a coach/umpire argument in baseball, presumably for the “entertainment” value.

Lest you think I rank myself on the level of these outstanding young women, let me be clear. Honestly, I think I would have been like the Western Oregon coach who said as the scene unfolded, “I was in shock. I never even thought of it.” I probably wouldn’t have had such a wonderful idea either.

For all those out there who think that sports is only about winning, take a deep breath, count to ten, and ask yourself, "What does being a good sport mean?" The term has always symbolized one who demonstrates good sportsmanship, not one who wins the contest.

To use another sports cliche, for "one shining moment" these girls picked us all up and lifted us a bit higher than the commonplace of competition to something much better. Thank you, Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace for “lifting” us all up a notch in the category of being a good sport.