“What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.”
This quote, from legendary basketball coach John Wooden, defines just what sportsmanship is all about. While it’s great to excel in sports, dance, theater, art, science, or whatever else interests you, it is even greater to excel in character.
And practicing sportsmanship in your activities is a wonderful way to do just that! Then you can become the best you can be not just in your activity but in your life as well!
Here are some great quotes that demonstrate just how important and valuable sportsmanship is.
- “Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way.” – Jim Courier
- “It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser.” – Harry Sheehy
- “Victory is in the quality of competition and not the final score.” – Mike Marshall
- “I never thought about losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right.” – Muhammad Ali
- “Win or lose, do it fairly.” – Knute Rockne
- “Class is striving hard to be the best at what you do while taking the needs of others into consideration” – Roger Staubach
- “Always imitate the behavior of the winner when you lose.” – Unknown
- “Victory is remembered for at most two decades; an act of good sportsmanship is remembered for a lifetime.” – Simon Nguyen
- “After I hit a home run I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases.” – Mickey Mantle
- “Class always shows” – Paul Brown, NFL Coach, GM and Owner
- “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.” – Knute Rockne
- “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary
- “I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is a game, that we are only as a good as our opponents, and whether you win or lose, to always give 100 percent.” – Sue Wicks, pro basketball player
- “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.” – Knute Rockne, college football coach
- “Golf is a game of respect and sportsmanship; we have to respect its traditions and its rules.” – Jack Nicklaus, pro golfer
- “The mark of great sportsmen is not how good they are at their best, but how good they are at their worst.” – Martina Navratilova, pro tennis player
- “After I hit a homerun I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases.” – Mickey Mantle, pro baseball player
- “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist and author
- “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta)
- “To succeed . . . you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” – Tony Dorsett, pro football player
This video tells an amazing story of sportsmanship at its finest.
Here are some terrific IMK posts that show the terrific impact good sportsmanship can have!
- Miracle on Mount Everest – One Man Gives Up His Dream to Save Another’s Life
- Derek Jeter – Amazing On and Off the Baseball Field
- E:60 Power of One
- U.S. Iraq Veterans Find New Hope as Paralympic Athletes
- The Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship
Topics for Discussion:
- What examples have you seen of good and bad sportsmanship?
- Why is good sportsmanship so important?
- Visit the Amazon page for The Kids’ (and parents’, too) Book of Good Sportsmanship for a great book about just how important and valuable sportsmanship is!
- Turn to this list of tips to help kids learn about and practice good sportsmanship.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.