CLAREMORE, OK —
Sportsmanship is defined by Merriam-Webster, as “conduct (as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport.” So many times in the world of sports, we see all kinds of bad sportsmanship, and usually the bad sportsmanship overtakes any good.
Having been in and around sports all my life, I have definitely seen the worst (and best) of people and, unfortunately, have been the worst (and best) example of sportsmanship myself.
However, this past weekend at an area basketball tournament in Claremore, I witnessed a couple of acts of sportsmanship that made me want to write this feature.
First off, the Colcord cheerleaders. Just moments after the Colcord Lady Hornets took care of business against Kiefer in their opening round game, the Colcord cheerleaders became the definition of good sportsmanship. The Chouteau Wildcats were the next team to play. The girls’ game before got done a little early, and the Chouteau cheerleaders were just walking into the gym.
The Colcord cheerleaders went over to where the Wildcats were to run out on to the court and made a human tunnel for them to run out. Normally, Chouteau’s own cheerleaders and fans would do that, but since they were just arriving, the Colcord girls took it upon themselves to support the boys from Chouteau. A very classy move by the girls -- so classy -- that I took it upon myself to email the school and told what an awesome display of sportsmanship that was.
Then there was Oklahoma City Northeast’s Tyus Johnson. Minutes after his team, the No. 1 team in Class 2A and defending state champs, ended their season to unranked and state-bound Chouteau, 62-38, Johnson asked tournament officials if he could present Chouteau with their trophy. When he did, both sets of fans gave a thunderous applause.
Sure, I saw some bad sportsmanship at the tournament, mostly from the adults, but in this day and age, it was so nice to see two great examples of good, quality sportsmanship on display.
As a youth pastor, I work with teens every day, and although many adults don’t get a chance to see the good in them, I’m fortunate enough that I do get to, and what I saw at the basketball tournament this past weekend was a prime example of it.