The state of sportsmanship is truly disappointing these days.
As of right now, we as a society have unlimited access to each and every confrontation and disrespectful gesture or conversation among teammates, coaches and/or opposing players.
Although unsportsmanlike conduct has been a part of American sports for decades, I think it's perpetually spiraling downward, and each and every scenario is usually either recorded or documented for others to view and/or criticize.
I recently read an article about two Alabama high school football teams that literally brawled after their game. Coaches usually exchange a handshake after the conclusion of a football contest, but these two coaches decided to snub one another and things escalated from there. Punches were thrown, players were spearing other players, and coaches were barking at the opposition.
Is this the example we want to set for our youth?
I can completely understand that, in the heat of the moment, irrationality surfaces but the ultimate response should be for a show of respect for the game and the constructive opportunities it provides for its participants.
This new generation of selfish, "it's all about me" individuals is starting to become more prevalent.
I can understand trash talking because, regardless of what you may think, it's a part of every sport out there. If you're able to throw your oppenent off of his or her game, more power to you. Just don't cross the line by being offensive or racially insensitive. And no one likes a pompous jerk who considers himself a deity. First and foremost, your team should always come first, and it seems that concept takes a back seat to ego more and more these days..
Teamwork. Sportsmanship. Humility. Dedication. Four key intangibles that will ultimately lead to success. Apparently, the simple handoff to the referee after a touchdown is no longer a part of the game. We've ever more frequently seen star athletes disrespect the game that we love, and it's difficult to stop the perpetuity of that attitude from germinating in the actions our youth. These kids need to be taught how to be sportsmen before it becomes too late.
My solution starts in the obvious places, first with the parents and continuing on to the adults with whom they surround themselves. Trust me, the respectful players live a much better life.
Developing positive qualities is invaluable. Ask Peyton Manning how respected he is due to how respectful he has alwasy been. You show respect, and that same respect is reciprocated.
Or at least, that's how it should be.