Let’s Get Back To Real Sportsmanship

Editor, News-Register:

“Of all the creatures of the world, mankind is the best of the best and the worst of the worst.” – William A. Welker.

The preceding quote also pertains to athletics. Unfortunately, it is the “worst” in athletics that is becoming the norm or commonplace with our athletic “superstars.” Sad to say, the unprofessional actions of our professional athletes have trickled down to the high school level, and even lower.

What I am referring to is such behavior as belittling opponents and officials, using foul language (including professional coaches), and other acts of unsportsmanlike conduct. The problem is that our young folks are now beginning to mimic their heroes in the “pro” ranks.

In West Virginia alone, there have been an increasing number of scholastic incidents involving profanity directed toward officials and opponents which resulted in ejection from the contests. They think it is just part of the competition. I am sure the same is true in many, many other states as well.

Furthermore, arrogance and “hot-dogging” after scoring seems to be a trademark of professional athletes. Whatever happened to the positive character traits of humility and acting like you did it before? It reminds me of a former Olympic champion in wrestling.

After winning his gold-medal match, this Olympian respectfully shook his rival’s hand, and then calmly walked over to his opponent’s coach performing the same act of good sportsmanship. A reporter caught up to him and asked one question: “How can you be so relaxed and nonchalant winning an Olympic Gold Medal? t’s like you’ve done it before.”

The wrestler simply responded, “I have – 1,000 times in my mind.”

In conclusion, carefully consider the following quote from the late John Wooden, UCLA’s legendary, ultra-successful basketball coach: “Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be grateful. Conceit is self-given; be careful!”

William A. Welker