Sportsmanship matters because the way we treat each other matters. How we treat each other matters more than the score, the trophy, the plaque and the ribbon. How we treat others matters more than the standings. How we treat others affirms our standing in the world.
We know we should treat others well; we just choose not to. We choose to trip our opponents, yell slurs at the other team and drag passengers from airplanes. It’s as simple as this: Knowledge without proof is as worthless as muscles without use. So, what we KNOW better, we must DO better!
Sportsmanship matters because most of us will never win a championship, get elected to high office or even have our dream job. However, every interaction we have with another human being, on the field or otherwise, is an opportunity to make them feel like a champion. Sportsmanship matters because plaques break, trophies chip and banners get lost. Historic stadiums get torn down and replaced by billion-dollar palaces.
Sportsmanship matters because how we treat people has lasting impact. As a matter of fact, how we treat others lasts longer than the people themselves.
At the 2015 Musial Awards, Arnold Palmer, in one of his final public appearances, shared memories of his good friend, Stan Musial. He told the audience, which included members of the Musial Family, that if we lived our lives as Stan did, we will have really done something.
I don’t know where Palmer’s four green jackets are. I don’t know where Musial’s Cardinal-record 475th home run ball is, but I do know the kind of people Palmer and Musial were. I can clearly articulate the impact they’ve had on me and the kids I try to inspire every day.
That’s why how we treat each other matters. How we treat each other is forever. Sportsmanship is forever. That’s why sportsmanship matters.