- Ada, Oklahoma

May 28, 2014

Be the MVP of sportsmanship; children learn from example

Janna Kelley OSU Extension Educator
The Ada News

Ada —

"Hey, ref! You need my glasses?" If you have attended a sporting event, you probably have heard this phrase from an outraged fan.

We have seen many incidences of bad sportsmanship in the news, and with school sports season around the corner, it is time for parents to remember that being courteous and keeping emotions in control can make for a more enjoyable game for parents and players.

Good sportsmanship happens when teams, opponents, coaches and officials exhibit respect, fairness and courtesy for each other. Kids learn the basics of sportsmanship from adults with sportsmanlike behaviors.

Parents who get out of control and yell at the referee for a call they don’t agree with may cause children to become upset and want to avoid activities. But, children whose parents are encouraging and cheer them on feel loved no matter what their performance.

Parents can be good sports and examples by exhibiting the following behavior:

Model appropriate behavior no matter who is playing or who wins. Do not let temper and feelings of the moment take over and do something they will regret later.

Commend children for their effort on the playing field. Remember to praise all players, not just your own. Never make fun of or yell at a child.

Show respect for authority and coaches. If there is disagreement with a call or decision, work through official channels to address it.

Discourage dishonesty and cheating for the sake of winning. Encourage fair competition.

Celebrate victories for the entire team.

Keep comments positive.

By participating in sports, children learn how to cooperate as part of a team.

Children learn lessons by playing in athletic events. During activities they learn about sportsmanship, playing fair and how to treat others with respect. They also learn how it feels to be a good winner and loser. So, be a good example this season and show your child how to be a good sport.