By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
During the summer months, I spend more time in the stands than on the sidelines. This past weekend, while in the stands watching my daughter’s roller derby bout at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville I got to thinking about the sportsmanship shown across almost every sport when someone is shaken up or hurt.
Following a tough, but very legal, hit one of the girls on the opposing team went down. While paramedics checked her out for injuries, everyone in the stands remained quiet and both teams took a knee on the track and remained quiet. She was shaken up but fine, and everyone clapped as she got up and skated back to her team.
This is something I’ve seen literally thousands of times in my life at various sporting events. Actually, it’s pretty much a universal practice among all sports except for the few where the purpose is to knock the opponent down in a violent manner (i.e. boxing and MMA fighting).
It is that level of sportsmanship by both the fans and players that makes sports so special. As athletes, we want to beat our opponents. We want to hit them hard or run them over or simply run by them. But, true athletes never want to seriously injure their opponents. Even most MMA fighters, as brutal as that sport is, don’t want to cause any serious or permanent damage to their foes.
Legendary football coach Knute Rockne summed up sportsmanship best when he said, “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.”
Coaches that I have been around as an athlete in the past and now as a reporter do teach sportsmanship to their players. Respect of one’s opponent is something that is engrained into each player starting in the pee wees.
At last year’s Cracker Bowl here in Cherokee, one little player went down for a minute – he was ok by the way, just shaken up – and all of the Pee Wee Braves took a knee out of respect. It was awesome to see and is a testament not only to the coaches and players but to the respect that sports brings into our lives.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“He’s just a good guy who has got his act together, and he’s an old head on a young body,” Paul Azinger, former British Open Champion and current ESPN analyst said about current Masters champion Jordan Spieth.