Sportsmanship is the character, practice, or skill of a person involved in sports. This includes the participant, the parents, the coaches, and all spectators. Sportsman like conduct includes fairness, courtesy, learning to be a good loser, being competitive without rude behavior, or experiencing any ill feelings toward the opponent. Too often in any sporting event, the purpose of the sport is forgotten. Winning has become overwhelmingly important to the adults involved. This attitude is inflicted on the youth. People of all ages should be allowed to fully embrace the challenge and fun of playing sports. Teaching, coaching, motivating, and winning are fine as long as the reason for the sport or activity is prioritized. The attitudes of athletes are instilled in them at a very young age.
They reflect the motivation and goals of their parents, who sometimes push them into sports they would not normally choose for themselves. Play is essential in growth and development. Children who play sports with other children tend to socialize and adjust better as adults. Healthy competition provides a natural, emotional outlet for children, but should not be forced or overemphasized. Competition should be kept friendly with the emphasis on participation rather than the outcome of the event. Parents should not pressure the child to excel, regardless of his abilities, because this takes away the fun of the sport, adds undo pressure on the participant, and produces unsportsman like conduct. Sportsmanship is participating in a sport, rather than performing, and realizing how you play the game is more important than winning.