Cheap Seats

Bring the sportsmanship back in sports

Legendary WSU football announcer Bob Robertson (speaking of the Cougs…who was the blogger that said they would beat USC? Oh yeah, me) ends his broadcasts every week by encouraging listeners to “always be a good sport…be a good sport always.”

I am going to call myself out right now – there are many times as a player, coach and spectator that I have not displayed good sportsmanship. Ultra-competitive types who have tremendously high standards like me tend not to be because we are more worried about winning or losing and can’t accept either outcome. However that’s no excuse for contributing to what I feel is the decline of sportsmanship in youth and high school sports.

It’s hard to say why the decline has happened. Perhaps it’s something that has filtered down from the pros where football wide receivers parade around after making big catches or basketball players “pop” their jerseys after a big play. Or the rampant trash talking that goes on in sports all across the board.

Or perhaps it’s because the “W” is all that matters among a lot of athletes, coaches and parents. The end justifies the means in a lot of sports and you do whatever you can do to win and taunt the other team when you do. Don’t help up a competitor because that shows weakness and most of all don’t tell them “good play” or “nice job” during the battle.

I think the blame for the decline of sportsmanship can be attributed to the adults, coaches, officials and spectators, at games. YouTube clips are everywhere of brawls in the stands at sporting events and stories of coaches and officials behaving badly are just as prominent. The chatter I hear now from the stands is not so much rooting on their own kids a lot of times, but rooting against the other team. Even now in 2013 adults’ actions really affect kids in sports. And it gets worse and worse with every generation. The egos of adults and coaches get in the way time and time again. Bottom line – one of our biggest problems in society (a lack of respect and tolerance for our fellow man) filters it’s way into the sports world.

I have been chided for having a “juice box view” when it comes to sports which means the score is not important but kids’ egos and feelings and everyone should get their juice boxes and orange slices at halftime and everyone gets a trophy. The final score is very important because it’s that measuring stick – if you win that’s the reward for a superior performance but if you lose it shows that your performance wasn’t quite as good and now the challenge is to figure out what went wrong. Measuring sticks are everywhere but where I sit from the cheap seats performance and outcome, and sportsmanship, are two different things. Play hard, play fair and play to the best of your ability – and win lose or draw after the game shake your opponent’s hand and say ‘good game’. At this stage of my life I’m a spectator mostly and my favorite thing in my whole life to do is to watch my kids practice or play sports.  And although I haven’t been the best at it in the past I vow from this day forward to heed to Bob Robertson’s words, win, lose or draw and hope all of you reading will do the same. And where I sit from the cheap seats, if we’re good sports out there everyone wins.

PAUL’S PREDICTIONS, WEEK 3

Wow…what a week for me last week. I went 3-0 and the icing on the cake was nailing the Washington State upset over USC. My picks for this week

OREGON 51, Tennessee 20

Washington 23, Illinois 17 (neutral site game…well…sorta kinda…it’s in Chicago)

WASHINGTON STATE 40, Southern Utah 12

UTAH 22, Oregon State 20

Last week: 3-0   Overall: 6-1

Paul Williams

I am a sports nut who has tried to make the transition from athlete to athletic....err....supporter of my two children and their athletic endeavours. I am also a former sports reporter for The Arlington Times, Marysville Globe, The Skagit Argus and The Coeur d'Alene Press. Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter (@PDub4170).