Saturday, 05 December 2015 04:43

Sports Should Build Good Character Featured

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Sports Should Build Good Character

Haven Bradford Gow

Haven Bradford Gow is a T.V. and radio commentator and writer who teaches religion to children at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Greenville, Mississippi.

In one game during the 2010 baseball season, an opposing team's pitcher threw a fastball that hit New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's bat; however, Mr. Jeter started grimacing in apparent pain and kept dancing around home plate like the fastball had hit him on the wrist. Fooled by Mr. Jeter's great acting performance, the umpire awarded first base to the Yankee shortstop.

In sharp contrast, in 2006, during a soccer match between Framingham State College and Bridgewater State College, a referee mistakenly awarded a goal to Framingham State when the ball had really gone through the side of the net instead of the front of it; the Framingham players - in a spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship - informed their coach who, in turn, told the referee, who refused to change the call. So Framingham proceeded to let Bridgewater State College score an uncontested point.

In 1954, during a football game between Oklahoma and Texas Christian, the Sooners were ahead in fourth quarter 21-16 when TCU proceeded to march down the field and score an apparent touchdown on a pass into the end zone. However, the receiver admitted to the referee that he had trapped the ball instead of receiving it cleanly, thereby nullifying the touchdown pass.

During a college softball game in April, 2008, a young lady on the Western Oregon team hit a homerun but injured her right knee while rounding first base; two players on the opposing Central Washington team proceeded to carry the injured Western Oregon player around the bases so the homerun would stand.

As philosophy teachers Craig Clifford and Randolph Feezell point out in Sport & Character (Human Kinetics):

Sport provides an arena in which good character can be developed and practiced. . . . Young people can learn to be persistent, determined, respectful, trustworthy, courageous, responsible, fair, and honest. . . . Sport and life are connected, not because there are winners and losers in life, but because good character matters in both.

When Breanna Lewis played basketball for Greenville-Weston High School, she was the heart and soul of her girls' basketball team. Watching Breanna's fine and graceful defensive play, dribbling, passing, and shooting was like watching poetry in motion. In one game, she scored 13 points to lead her team to victory. Breanna is such a fine and graceful player and shooter that had she taken most of her team's shots, she easily could have scored at least 30 points; but Breanna chose to be an unselfish team player and pass the ball to her teammates so they could develop and display their skills.

Breanna's unselfish team play and good sportsmanship showed character development can and must go hand in hand with athletic development.

Breanna also displayed good character and sportsmanship in a game with Vicksburg High School. A star player on the Vicksburg game kept verbally and mentally abusing Breanna during the whole contest. Instead of trying to retaliate against the player, Breanna ignored the abuse and showed grace and good sportsmanship.

Today, Breanna is displaying good character and sportsmanship as an important player on the Gulf Coast Community College, Panama City, Florida. *

Read 1553 times Last modified on Saturday, 05 December 2015 10:43
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