Sportsmanship—Lessons for a Lifetime

As regional and state tourneys are quickly approaching, we believe this is an important time to remind everyone about the importance of proper sportsmanship at school events.  One of the missions of co-curricular school activities is to serve as an extension of the classroom.  There are strong lessons to be learned in the fine arts, journalism, speech, student government, and athletics.  One of those lessons is to set and maintain high standards of sportsmanship, ethics and integrity in our schools and our society.  It is up to us to provide the direction and constant vigilance under which good sportsmanship can prosper and have a positive impact on our children, the leaders of tomorrow.

Our school has joined a statewide campaign sponsored by the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) to promote sportsmanship at our events.  Most of our school events and contests are conducted under the guidance and regulation of the SDHSAA for the enjoyment and educational benefit of high school students.  Good sportsmanship is one of the primary purposes of the high school interscholastic activities program.  At Beresford Schools, we believe it is important to stress the type of exemplary behavior that should be exhibited by all participants and spectators at our events. 

The value of the lessons learned by exhibiting good sportsmanship will last a lifetime.  If we lose sight of that, then athletics, or any co-curricular activity, is not worth sponsoring.  The positive actions of a coach, director, athlete, parent or spectator at an event can influence how our school is perceived in our own community and the communities of those schools we meet on the field of competition.  Spectators can support their high school interscholastic program by refraining from derogatory remarks or cheers.

We are asking for your support in this effort by emphasizing to your son or daughter what is expected of them at a school event as a competitor or spectator.  After all, such events are an extension of the school day, and we should expect the same type of respectful behavior exhibited in the activity arena as we do in the classroom.  We urge you to ask your children to demonstrate self-control and self-discipline and at the same time, enjoy the activities.

Finally, we ask you to set a good example when in the stands at an event.  It is only through these efforts that we can clearly communicate what is acceptable behavior.  We hope that your positive example will help set the tone for those around you so we may all enjoy the activities our students and teams are involved.

When you purchase a ticket to an event, you are given the privilege to view the action and to voice your support of our students and teams.  We want that support to be in a positive tone, so that the educational value of these events is completely developed and clearly communicated to our students.

Six Fundamentals of Sportsmanship That We Support at Beresford Schools 

1.      Show Respect for the Opponent at all Times

The opponents should be treated as guests, greeted cordially; given the best accommodations and accorded the tolerance, honesty and generosity that all human beings deserve.  Good sportsmanship is the golden rule in action.

2.      Show Respect for the Officials

The officials should be recognized as impartial arbitrators who are trained to do their job and who can be expected to do it to the best of their ability.  Good sportsmanship implies the willingness to accept and abide by the decisions of the officials.

3.      Know, Understand, and Appreciate the Rules of the Contest

A familiarity with the current rules of the game and the recognition of their necessity for a fair contest are essential.  Good sportsmanship suggests the importance of conforming to the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.

4.      Maintain Self-Control at all Times

A prerequisite of good sportsmanship requires one to understand his/her own bias or prejudice and to have the ability to recognize rational behavior is more important than the desire to win.  A proper perspective must be maintained if the potential educational values of athletic competition are to be realized.  Good sportsmanship is concerned with behavior of all involved in the game.  

5.      Recognize and Appreciate Skill in Performance Regardless of Affiliation

Applause for an opponent’s good performance is a demonstration of generosity and goodwill that should not be looked upon as treason.  The ability to recognize quality in performance and the willingness to acknowledge it without regard to team membership is one of the most highly commendable gestures of good sportsmanship.

6.      Display Pride in your Actions at Every Opportunity

Never allow your ego to interfere with good judgment.  Regardless of whether you are a student, player, coach, official, parent, or fan, this value is paramount since it suggests that you care about yourself and also how others perceive you.