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What is good sportsmanship and why it matters

Good morning esteemed colleagues and students! 
  It’s May 7th , and it’s in the middle spring semester for us.  
  Spring is my favorite time of year!  The lawns of our beautiful campus are becoming bright green, trees awaken after long winter sleep, and flowers bloom. Yes, it may rain at times, but it’s still such a relief to see blue skies after being confined indoors during gloomy winter days. With the weather getting warmer, we all want to move a lot, play, enjoy sunshine and life! 
  As a testament to the joy of life in movement, we held our annual Sports Day on Friday, April 28th. I was amazed to see that there is quite a number of students and teachers among us who excel in athletic activities and sports. Many of our students prepared weeks in advance! Well done! As they say, sound bodies possess sound minds! I congratulate those of you who have won an award and to those who couldn’t make it this time, I wish best of luck next year! I also want to congratulate the faculty members for their hard work. Without you it wouldn’t be possible to hold such an amazing event! It was indeed a memorable day for all of us, but I’d like to emphasize that it was an activity that was about a little more than just sports and competition. It was a valuable chance to learn the values of good SPORTSMANSHIP.  

What is sportsmanship? IT isn’t about running fast or jumping high. It isn’t even about winning. 
It’s about being cooperative and supporting teammates in mutual quest for excellence. 
It’s about being honorable and respecting everyone’s contribution. 
It’s about being humble and taking the success but sharing the credit. 
It’s about being fair and playing by the rules. Being fair means taking turns, not taking advantage of others, not blaming others carelessly.  
It’s about being gracious and meeting the challenge of a strong opponent with your finest performance! Give it all! Win or lose! 
It’s about responsibility in thinking before acting and setting good example for others. 
It’s about a special mindset when one can focus all attention and effort on the goal, recover quickly from mistakes and stay positive no matter what. 

   I prepared a few real-life examples of heartwarming stories of good sportsmanship: 
   1. High school rowers, James Konopka and Nick Mead were well on their way to medaling in a race when one of the opposing boats capsized. As this was the Philadelphia area and the month of November with temperatures only reaching about 7 degrees Celsius, Konopka and Mead decided to abandon their medal hopes and help their opponents out of the freezing water. After the two fallen rowers were safe, the heroes decided that they still should finish the race. So, they did.
  2. Spain was beating Italy in the final of the 2012 Euro Cup. Leading 4-0 as the match entered stoppage time, Spain's goalie turned to the referee and begged that he blow the whistle out of respect for Italy so that the game would end and save embarrassment for the opponent team. 
  3. Meghan Vogel, a high school student, was running the 3200-meter race when the runner ahead of her, Arden McMath began to collapse. Rather than continuing past McMath and finish the race, Vogel stopped, picked up her injured competitor and carried her the final 20 meters of the race and then across the finish line. Ahead of herself.

   I hope these inspiring stories will serve as a reminder to all of us what our sports day was really about. Sometimes, with one day like this outdoors we may learn more than in many days in the classrooms. 
But remember, the rules of good sportsmanship apply not only in sports, but in all aspects of life.  Is there ever a time when it isn’t appropriate to be responsible, to be fair, to be gracious? No! Living following these high standards every day always makes a positive impact. Sportsmanship is an action word. It is something we must actively pursue to reinforce through our actions and our words at every opportunity!Be sure to bring the lessons of good sportsmanship to your family, to the community, to your STUDIES! Be cooperative, fair, responsible, gracious, humble, honorable, positive! 
  Have a great week ahead everyone!