Monday, August 26, 2013

True Sportsmanship

What is sportsmanship?

Is it abiding to the rules of the game, respecting your opponentor simply being a “good loser”?

Sportsmanship has many formal definitions and those are different for everyone. However, true sportsmanship, in every single aspect, can be found at the Special Olympics.

Last weekend, Paige Paulsen and I volunteered at the NB Special Olympics Summer Games. The event brought together Special Olympics athletes from all over the Atlantic provinces to participate in a wide variety of sports. We were assigned to work the track meet. Initially, I was thinking we would be timing races, measuring throw and jump lengths. Standard volunteering procedures. But it turned out to be so much more than that.

We witnessed the up most level of sportsmanship I have ever seen.

Yes, I have seen a lot in my days as an athlete; the opposing players helping one of my teammates up when they fall, congratulating a player on a nice play and so on and so forth. But what I saw this weekend made all those acts seem so small.

Athletes cheering on other athletes while they were racing… against each other. Competitors being so happy with finishing their event even if they were dead last and coming in minutes after all the others. I have never seen a group of athletes that were so happy to be able to participate in their sport of choice simply because they love it. Yes, they are happy when they win but the big difference is that they are equally as happy when they get 8th place.

As athletes, we sometimes get so wrapped up in the game all we can think about is getting the “W”. We often forget why we play our sport in the first place. For most of us, it began when we were children and we truly just loved playing to play, no matter what the scoreboard read.

At one point or another, we all need to be reminded what true sportsmanship is. I believe we should all either attend or volunteer at a Special Olympics event of some sort; not only will it serve as a good reminder, I promise you will not be able to leave without a smile on your face.


In other news, our training camp begins next week with a mini boot camp on Tuesday and Wednesday and team tryouts starting on Friday that will continue through the weekend.

We will also be hosting one of the two AUS-RSEQ interlocks at the end of October. We will be hosting l’Université de Montréal, McGill University, l’Université de Laval and l’Université de Sherbrooke as well as three other AUS teams (I will not lie, I am not quite certain who they are at the moment).

Happy back to school season everyone,

Jodie J

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