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The Rewards of Sportsmanship

TIn today’s sports world, things are always measured by performance and results. You either win or you lose. This is especially relevant in professional sports where winning is first and foremost. If you perform better than anyone else, you are potentially rewarded with a multi-million dollar contract. If you fail to perform, you don’t play and are definitely not paid as much. Your worth is determined by you performance on the playing field.

I remember during my college baseball career that I would have to sit down with my coach at the end of each year for a “performance review”. He would look at my statistics for the past year and he would give me his feedback on what my future would look like for the following year. In addition, it determined whether I would be keeping my scholarship money, which is very competitive in college sports today. At times, it was a very stressful experience with a lot on the line.

However, being a student-athlete on the high school level can look very different. Sure, they are still competing for scholarships and being measured by wins and losses, but there are other opportunities they can take advantage of at their schools and in the community. Unfortunately, many times we get caught up in our busy day to day workouts and games we play that we miss out on those opportunities. It takes awareness to recognize those times where they can actually give back to the sport that they love to play and learn a good lesson from it. I believe that it is important to stop & remember how fortunate & blessed we are to play our sport and give back to those that may not have the opportunities that we have on a daily basis.

My son’s school, Vanguard College Preparatory School here in Waco, Texas recently had the chance to learn about good citizenship firsthand. I’m glad that my son Braden is able to experience this type of sportsmanship as his school’s basketball team plays The Gainesville State Tornadoes. They are a Teen-Aged Juvenile Correction Facility that rewards their kids with good behavior to leave the facility and play in basketball games at other private schools in the area.

It is reward enough for the Gainesville team to be be able to get out of the facility to play, but in this case, knowing that the Tornados would not be represented by much of a fan base, the Vanguard team asked some of their fans to cheer for Gainesville instead.

According to a recent CBS News article, ” The Gainesville players had no idea what was happening. They walked onto the court to find their own signs of support, their own cheerleaders, even their own fan section. Half the crowd was assigned to cheer for Gainesville. But as the game went on, everybody started to cheer for Gainesville.”

I applaud the student-athletes and people involved for recognizing that it is ok to step outside the box of traditional athletics and do something good. It’s not always about winning or losing a basketball game. It’s about setting the example for other young athletes and putting things in perspective for kids and parents across the entire nation.


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