Be a Good Sport

This weekend I witnessed an example of poor sportsmanship after the AFC Championship game when the coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Bilichick refused to be interviewed after the game. Having lost many games, I know defeat doesn’t come easy, but how hard is it to speak to a reporter about the game. He didn’t even need to come up with anything new. This interview takes place after every game in the playoffs. The script goes something like this:

We’re very disappointed. This is a great team with terrific players who were well prepared. Unfortunately, we weren’t the best team on the field today. Of course, turnovers hurt us, but you can’t take anything away from our opponents. Hats off to this year’s AFC champs. We wish them well in the Super Bowl.

How hard was that? I’ve heard enough of these interviews that I could write the script in about a minute. Sure, he may have been asked about the why the offense didn’t play up to expectations or what was the key to the Ravens’ win; but those aren’t tough questions either. All the reporter and fans want is to see the coach of the losing team say their opponent played great and they deserved the win – a display of good sportsmanship.

You’d think as the highest paid coach in professional sports, earning an annual salary of $7.5 million per year, he could face the media and congratulate his opponents publicly.

On the other hand, a YouTube video I watched earlier Sunday exemplified good sportsmanship. According to an article posted on Runner’s World Running Times, Abel Mutai had a comfortable lead heading for the finish line in a recent race when he misjudged the finish line and started walking 10 meters early. Ivan Fernandez Anaya recognized the leader’s mistake and stayed behind Mutai gesturing for him to continue and cross the finish line allowing Matui to claim the victory.

In the article, Anaya was quoted:

“I didn’t deserve to win it. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”

I bet Anaya would have known what to say if he was coaching the losing team in a big game, even without a big salary.

I hope you’ll be a good sport in both winning and losing. Be modest. Praise your opponent. Winning is wonderful, but not if you brag and rub your accomplishments in the face of others. And while losing is not fun, being gracious can make the loser come out on top.

Did you know there is a National Sportsmanship Day? This year it will be recognized on March 5th. I bet Bill Belichick won’t be in attendance.

Be a good sport.