Winning Really Isn’t Everything
Dec 17, 2012Posted by james
More youth sports teams are focusing on sportsmanship rather than winning games and championships. Managers, coaches, parents and the leagues realize that this has its own rewards.
I recently learned about two teams from New York that stress sportsmanship. The Sand Gnats is a little league minors division baseball team from White Plains and the Putnam Valley Tigers is an under-12 girls soccer team.
The manager of the Sand Gnats is a pastor.
“When [the pastor] informed me that my son…would be on his baseball team, I knew the focus would be about character and not about winning,” said one parent to a reporter at a local newspaper.
An example of the pastor’s teaching of sportsmanship occurred when he responded to over-zealous cheering by his players during a game. He walked to the bench and told the players that they should not make the other team feel bad, and then he said that if it continued he would forfeit the game.
From this once incident, a player later said that he learned the importance of always showing kindness. He said that it is easy to be kind when thought is given to actions and having the knowledge that words can affect others.
For the record, the team won every game, including the championship. But all the players were more satisfied that they played their games the right way—with kindness and respect for other teams.
A little farther north, the girls won the East Hudson Youth Soccer League Division 2 title. But winning was secondary for them.
“What makes this team extra special is the true sportsmanship, commitment, encouragement and love they have for each other,” said a parent about the girls on the team. “Through the good, they would laugh, jump, smile and cheer with joy. Through the bad, they would embrace one another, smile, and say, ‘It’s OK, we gave it our all.’ If one was hurt, all were hurt.”
In sports, when only winning or personal success are the end game, sometimes the biggest reward is lost—self-respect and the respect for others. The same is true in business. Whether you work with an internal team or collaborate with outside partners, mutual respect always is a winning formula that delivers rewards.