Sunday, June 17, 2012
Fathers and Sportsmanship
Now I did play little league baseball and soccer when I was a kid, and I enjoyed playing baseball. However I did not follow through with it afterwards in life. I was more interested in camping, hunting and fishing more than general athletics and I lettered in Band in High School. (Lettering in Football would not have been hard for me at my school actually. It was a terrible team when I was there and I was a tuba player in Marching Band, and some on the tuba line did quit and joined the defensive line while was there.) I did play Lacrosse in college which was just out of pure fun. I cared less if we lost and I was on teams that we did, but the fun of hitting someone else with a stick legally outweighed the score of the game, when we were keeping score. I still watch a fair amount of sports but where I really learned sportsmanship was when I was playing board games with my Father. Most specifically this:
That's right, my first foray into war gaming was Axis and Allies. I remember many a game played by the two of us. I learned the most about sportsmanship from these games than any other place. My father would soundly beat me every time for the most part. I would range from being in tears all the way to snippy at times playing him. Here is the difference though. Mom hated the game, but she would always ask how we did. After every loss she would give my dad a cross look, as if telling him "Let him win for once." He would reply verbally "He is getting good, I almost lost to him today."
I can't tell you how glad that he would always play to win and actively beat me. It taught me humility and most importantly to be gracious in victory like he always was. One thing that I did not learn was to be more gracious with rules disputes. I really do have a hard time being amenable when I am disputing a rule that I know is right. Since then I have shown frustration quite a few times after a game which I do regret quite a bit in retrospect, but I don't consider myself a bad sport, and given the atmosphere it can be different for me. I take tournaments not nearly as seriously as campaigns for example. Which leads me to the bad sportsman out there.
I certainly do understand being frustrated and short with people at times, and I very much try to avoid it at all costs. However as this thread from Warseer shows there are people who really needed to be taught good sportsmanship:
I would assume that most of these stories are crap, but like many stories that are too absurd to be true, I am sure that there is a kernel of truth to be sure. I have seen dice being thrown, I have seen people who have packed up in a huff, and I have seen people carry on a rare occasion. I can tell you that my father would not have put up with that crap at all from me. People are people and you do eventually find a few jerks in your life. Hopefully they do learn what good sportsmanship is and practice it, but I do wish that they had a father figure like mine who would have taught them good sportsmanship practices.