The Power of Awesome Sportmanship
Think back to your most memorable moment on the sporting field. It might be a great win, or an awesome goal. A funny moment shared between you and a teammate, or maybe a memory from a hard-fought loss where your team really gave it your all.
If you play for a team, it’s more than likely that your proudest moment was something that you were able to share with your teammates. After all, community sport is about just that – community. Win, lose or draw, it’s our teammates and competitors that make playing sport so much fun.
For 13-year old Good Sports Junior club member Lachie Carey, there’s one moment that really stands out.
After traveling for more than two hours to play against the Merriwa Junior Rugby League Club, Lachie experienced community sport at its best.
“While we were the ones that walked away with a win, it was the sportsmanship that Merriwa showed us today both on and off the field that made our whole team feel honoured to have versed them,” Lachie wrote in a letter penned after the game.
And as Lachie goes on to explain, it’s the little things that really had an impact. Merriwa were quick to congratulate the South Newcastle players for awesome moments on the field and played the game fairly. Some of the players even shook the parents of their opponents hands after the game.
This story is a great reminder of the real reason we play sport, particularly junior sport. Fielding a team that is respectful, fair and positive has a greater impact than you might think. Awesome sportsmanship doesn’t go unnoticed.
Importantly, these values extend to parent and spectator behaviour as well. Kids do take notice and often will mirror the behaviour of their role-models. By being a supportive spectator and cheering on the great play of both teams, spectators can help to nurture an inclusive environment for both the home and away sides to enjoy.
In fact, poor sideline behaviour can have a significant impact on club participation rates. Young members at sporting clubs are learning the ropes and are influenced by everything they see and hear around the ground. When parents pressure or act in a unsupportive way, their kids are more likely to feel anxious and unmotivated to keep playing sport. This behaviour can also lower team morale and encourage kids to drop out of the club altogether.
After such a memorable match, the Lions and Magpies captured the moment with a joint-team photo – a memento that will always remind the juniors of what it means to be a good sport.
“We really try to be great sports too and today at our game it showed us all that playing good footy is the first part of why we should run on to the field – showing great sportsmanship and working together as a team makes up for the rest.”
Good Sports Junior helps clubs to role-model healthy and responsible behaviours, setting the right standards for junior members and their families. Good Sports Junior is available to Level 3 accredited clubs in Victoria, NSW and ACT.
Published with permission from Lachie Carey and South Newcastle Junior Football Club. Read Lachie’s letter in full here.