Good sportsmanship is the best rule of the game

At one of my son's recent basketball games, he did pretty well in terms of points scored and in how he played overall. He also played his heart out.

But what impressed me most, and what I focused on with him afterwards, was that on two different occasions he offered his hand to an opposing player who had fallen down on the floor — something I’m not seeing as much of as I used to.

It seems that the chest-thumping athletes from the pro and college games are being emulated at the high school level and below. What’s happening to good sportsmanship?

Action ideas

Think about how your father viewed sportsmanship. What lessons did you learn while growing up?

Talk with your kids about sports, games and other competitions, whether they are varsity level teams, developmental athletics or trying out for a part in the school play. While competition has many positives (preparing kids for adulthood, teaching character), remind your children the game should still always be fun and not at the expense of others. Encourage them to be strong competitors with a desire to win but always while maintaining integrity and respect — win or lose.

Consider discussing this issue with your wife and what aspects of it are important to you. Make a plan for how you plan to teach and reinforce good sportsmanship.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at

David Eggebeen at

Robert Orndorff at

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or