Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thoughts on Good Sportsmanship by Kim Ryan, PE Teacher

Dear Good Sports,

I'm excited to introduce our first Guest Poster!

Her name is Kim Ryan. She is the PE Teacher at New Eagle Elementary School where our family goes. As it's the season for Field Days (she ran New Eagle's yesterday), her observations on good sportsmanship are right on time.

Thoughts on Good Sportsmanship
by Kim Ryan, Elementary PE Teacher, New Eagle Elementary

When I ask one of my students what a good sport is they usually tell me one of the following – all of which are true: It means
- Shaking hands after a game
- Not bragging
- Playing fair
- Not being a sore loser
- Saying good game
What about:
1. When someone else wins – that doesn’t mean that they cheated.
2. Being respectful of the game and the other team - not bending or stretching the rules to get an edge or trying to annihilate or run up the score on the other team.
3. Athletes complementing each other on a move, play, and win - whether they are a team mate or not.
4. Be genuinely happy for someone else winning.
5. Not always tagging or getting out the people you know you can get out – challenge yourself to get that really hard player.
6. Sometimes letting someone score just because you know it’s that much harder for them and they hardly ever score.
7. Include everyone on your team – whether they are really good or not.
8. Cut someone else a break – especially when they aren’t as good as you at something.
9. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves without tooting your own horn.
10. Being a respectful winner and loser.
Unfortunately too much emphasis is placed on whether a team wins or loses. When we ask students/children how was the game they always answer with whether they won or lost. I feel we need to turn the focus on the game itself. Spend more of your conversation on were there any great plays, saves, moves, what player really impressed you, are you proud of any plays you did, did you try any new strategies or skills you’ve been practicing, etc. The spirit of the game and how it is played is what is important – not necessarily the score at the end. It’s kind of like life – I hope my students grow up to be kind, considerate, respectful, compassionate, hard working, honest members of society. In my opinion sports should be a reflection of how I hope my students will live their life.

Many thanks, Mrs. Ryan, for your insights which can --and should --be followed by kids of all ages!

Check back soon for more Good Sport thoughts, comments, stories, and more!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lost and Found

Dear Good Sports,

Yesterday we received an email from the head of the youth lacrosse league.

Now that it's the end of the season, she sent a Lost and Found List to let us know what's been left at-- and collected from -- the fields over the last two months.

If anyone is missing one of the items -- such as a retainer case -- please contact her for its return.

The retainer case made me chuckle. Unless it was at a game last weekend or a practice this week, I wondered how a parent or child wouldn't have realized it was lost -- or 'fessed up in the case of the child -- before this!

(I always think the same thing when they empty out the Lost and Found at the end of the school year. There are major winter coats on that table -- how would the child make it home during the cold weather without it?)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the scene at the end of games and practices -- a scene repeated at every sport or activity everywhere, I'm sure!

It's chaos! The kids' primary thought is to get a drink and a snack (understandably) ... the parents (understandably) are interested in getting everyone in the car to drive off to the next activity. The coach (ultimately) is left gathering up the equipment and picking up the snack trash -- as quickly as possible since the next team is waiting for the field.

Now, if everyone did their share -- helping pack up the equipment, being responsible for their own snack wrappers -- clean-up would be a breeze.

And that retainer case would have made it home!

Just a thought.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

The all-important team cheer

Dear Good Sports,

I write to you on our first sunny day in forever! We've had days and days of rain, on and off for two weeks.

We were able to work outside, clean-up the gardens, plant flowers and spread mulch. We have a lot of poison ivy that I hope we avoided.

Also, my husband and our younger daughter finally had their first lacrosse game in two weeks this morning They'd been unable to play or practice because of the weather. My husband is her coach and they love sharing it together.

But because they haven't had a chance to play for two weeks, it's also been two weeks since the Great Cheer Debacle of 2009. And Coach Dad has been getting more and more nervous as time goes on.

The Great Cheer Debacle of 2009 happened two weeks ago and he hasn't lived it down yet (or, more accurately, our friends whose daughters are on the team, haven't let him live it down).

The day started innocently enough -- with no premonition of the trouble ahead. The girls played well. But at the end of the game, instead of gathering together, they ran straight over to the Snack Mom who had brought fresh, hot-from-the-oven soft pretzels.

Meanwhile the other team obediently circled their coach and gave a loud cheer for the coach, the refs and the other team. Then they lined up to start the "good game" stick cross with our team.

Meanwhile, our team was struggling with their pretzels and putting their straws in their juice pouches, with sticks and gear and water bottles scattered around.

Coach Dad tried valiantly to get the girls together, to catch up so that the other team wasn't waiting long in line for our team. Finally they straggled into a circle but no one started the cheer together, and then he said one thing and they said another, and then they weren't very loud because their mouths were full of soft pretzel. Last, he called them last year's team name, instead of this year's team name (which our daughter unfortunately pointed out to him after she swallowed her soft pretzel) -- an honest mistake, I think, when you know that last year's team was the Red Hots and this year's team is the Hot Shots.

You can imagine how over two weeks the Great Cheer Debacle of 2009 was becoming an albatross around his neck. No chance to get back up on the horse, so to speak, because they were rained out.

Last night our friends gave him some pointers and made up some cheers for him (some appropriate, some not) and then he practiced with our daughter this morning. He managed to stop the rush to the Snack Mom (munchins from Dunkin Donuts) and I'm happy to report that Potato Chip, Potato Chip, munch munch munch, we just played a might fine bunch -- go (insert other team's name) went well -- and the Great Cheer Debacle of 2009 is hopefully fading into a gentle memory.

(Until someone brings it up.)

It's funny what the cheer represents -- it's not just the cheer itself, but the respect doing it shows for the other team, coaches and refs. It's tradition, it's fun and no game is complete without it. So I'm glad we got our "cheer-on" (or should it be "cheer-back") today.

Talk to you later,