Love Your Neighbor In Sport
This post is aimed at helping us think of real, tangible ways to be a good neighbor in each of our respective sports.
When we think of the mission of Team NeighborLink, it is to raise awareness and funds NeighborLink, which is a great task to strive for. However, if the individuals representing a team, especially Team NeighborLink, aren't embodying the mission and goal for the team, there can be a disconnect between the team and what it is attempting to achieve, and the individuals and their actions.
If you were involved in sports growing up, you likely heard the coaches talk about good sportsmanship and how to be a fair sport, even in the face of a loss or adversity. Some of us might still practice what we learned in our younger years and display exceptional sportsmanship, which is very commendable and something you can take pride in doing. But for the rest of us and the majority of sports this is a lost art, one forgotten in the heat of intense competition.
Here’s your chance to make an honest attempt to "Love Your Neighbor In Sport".
Think about your most recent competition… Did you take advantage of opportunities to be a good sport? What were some ways you could have better engaged with your fellow competitors? These are questions that often slip our minds because we have fallen into the routine of getting ready to compete, which includes going through all of our pre-competition rituals, competition day protocols, and post-competition habits. In the mix of all of this, we are so focused on ourselves, that we don’t realize the ways we interact with others (which may not be favorable). If the answers to the above questions don’t make you joyful, don’t fret, you are not alone in this.
If you become too focused on the activities related to your sport, you may realize that competition is overly controlling you as an individual and hurting those around you. For some this may be more extreme; for others, it might mean that you aren’t being as intentional as you could be with those around you in your sports. If you are able to bring some balance to this mix, it could greatly help you to enjoy the camaraderie in sport, not just the end result of winning or finishing with a high placing. It is certainly important for all of us to do our best, but if that comes at a cost of harming another competitor with our words or action, then we may need to rethink what our motives are as we compete.
The reward that is gained from being a good sport is one that will far outlast the awards and accolades from being the best, most successful, and highest placed athlete. The people that you meet and the places that you go will last a lifetime. You want to be able to look back in the future and get to share in conversation with former competitors about how much fun you had competing together, rather than being someone who was isolated and solely focused on winning.
Relationships are important and the essence of who we are as human beings and sometimes, we seem to forget this as we compete. There are times that we act inhumanely and outright foolish to our competitors. Being a good sport doesn't just happen, it takes lots of practice. It also takes the humility and willingness to admit when you are wrong, and the ability to take a step back from a situation to do the right thing.
Here’s to good sportsmanship!