Boxing legend George Foreman once said, “If you fight good fighters long enough, you will eventually lose.” His point is if you seek out the best and compete against them, they will win their fair share. That’s why long undefeated streaks, undefeated seasons and undefeated careers are anomalies in the sports world.
To channel my inner Big Sean, you will take an L. How you handle it and how you bounce back is what matters. Coaches have told me it’s not over until over. Well, sometimes, it is over before it’s over and there’s no harm in calling off the dogs.
If you’re down by four touchdowns with two minutes to go, the game is over. Stop hitting, tackling, growling and trying to prove how tough you are. Losing doesn’t make you a loser. Only your attitude can do that.
Taking a loss with class and dignity shows others they can still follow your lead. Being able to admit what your opponent did right and what you did wrong shows respect and stability. People who can’t admit defeat when everyone clearly sees the scoreboard delude themselves.
No one should ever be comfortable or happy with losing. You can show your discomfort while maintaining your composure. It’s best, however, to get up, dust yourself off and show your opponent and the game the respect they deserve.
Shake your opponent’s hand. Congratulate him on a spirited contest. Oh, and let him know you’ll be back! Don’t laugh. It worked for Schwarzenegger.
I write a lot about sportsmanship, what it means to be a good sport and blah, blah, blah. Maybe it’s time you heard from some different voices. Before this year’s Musial Awards, we sent a crew out to Spoede Elementary in suburban St. Louis to ask some first and second graders a most important question: What does it mean to be a good sport?
Their responses in the video below will be the best two minutes of your day and maybe the entire holiday season. Enjoy.
Show your commitment to sportsmanship by taking the pledge and joining the Good Sport Club. Click on the link for more information.
Worldwide Olympic icon and 2017 Stan Musial Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship recipient Jackie Joyner-Kersee is coming to a living room near you. Well, not in the flesh, but likely on your favorite HDTV screen.
In a landmark deal, Tegna, Inc., owner and operator of 40 televisions stations nationwide has cleared the Musial Awards to air on 12 of its stations this holiday season. Tegna owns KSDK Channel 5 in St. Louis, which has aired the Musial Awards one-hour television special since 2011. The Musial Awards recognizes the most extraordinary moments and stories from around the country.
The 2017 Musial Awards featured Joyner-Kersee, NASCAR great Carl Edwards, 2016 Olympian Abbey D’Agostino and a host of the most inspiring honorees to ever grace a single stage. Here is the list of Tegna stations that will air the Musial Awards along with dates and times. All times are local.
Russian cannot field an Olympic team in any sport.
Russian government officials are barred from attending the Olympics.
The Russian national anthem will not be played at any time.
Russian athletes can apply for an exemption to compete, given they have adhered to drug testing protocols, but they cannot wear the Russian uniform. They must wear neutral colors and will compete without a country.
Russia has yet to respond officially to the ban, but officials contemplated a boycott if the I.O.C. penalty was severe.
Kent Sterling is a friend of mine and a friend of the St. Louis Sports Commission. When he worked in St. Louis, he was a huge supporter of our sportsmanship programs and published several of my articles on his station’s website.
He cares about sportsmanship and believes in the positive affect sports can have on everyone. Kent’s position comes from a frustration with the behavior of coaches and athletes after games. Cincinnati head basketball coach Mick Cronin almost got into a fight with a Xavier player in the handshake line on Saturday afternoon.
Kent’s right in that fights and other acts of aggression happen far too often in the handshake line. He also has a point when he argues even when fights don’t happen, people don’t really take the handshake seriously anymore. The handshakes themselves are limp noodles and players and coaches rarely look each other in the eye.
The handshake line is meant to say, “Hey, we left it all out there and I respect you for giving me your best shot. Good game!” That meaning has been lost because if you’re not growling at your opponent after the contest like some rabid animal, you’re seen as not wanting it bad enough.
To understand the importance of the postgame handshake, look no further than the combat sports. Wrestling, MMA and boxing competitors routinely go out of their way to shake hands, hug and show their opponents respect after a match. These athletes slam, choke and punch each other, yet they find a way to show humility.
One such example came on Saturday night when UFC heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Allistair Overeem fought to determine the number one contender for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. About one minute into the fight, Ngannou may have landed the hardest punch in human history on Overeem.
Forget a bad call or a botched play, I would have a hard time shaking the hand of a man who just turned my lights out. However, Overeem humbled himself as did Ngannou when he thanked his opponent for giving him the opportunity.
Expectations need to be raised among athletes and coaches in team sports. They must respectfully shake hands with opponents in an orderly fashion. No exceptions. It doesn’t matter what happened during the game. You didn’t get fouled as hard as Overeem got punched, so what’s your deal?
People live up (or live down) to expectations. Change them and change the game.
Today is my mother-in-law’s 68th birthday. She passed away in May of 2010. I’m a likable enough guy, but I can say honestly, my mother-in-law, Mrs. Madelyn Perry, loved me. And I loved her right back. Not many people can say that about their mother-in-law, but I can and it’s certainly a blessing.
In 2008, I joined an anti-violence movement in St. Louis named ‘A Call to Oneness.’ Our group went door-to-door in St. Louis City and County talking to anyone who would listen about ending the violence in our community. We marched on the weekends and reported our progress with weekly meetings at local churches.
We were told in advance of one meeting that U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay, Jr. would be addressing the group to give us a word of encouragement. Congressman Clay did more than rally the troops. He answered our questions about what his office was doing to end the violence.
I was so excited when he called on me I jumped to my feet and rattled off a bunch of words about support, law enforcement and community. When Clay finished his response, I quickly sat down. Bad idea. No, very bad idea for a big man in slacks.
The seam in the back of my pants couldn’t take the sudden pressure and I immediately had my own air conditioning. I was near the front of a packed room, so I couldn’t quietly excuse myself with what felt like a huge hole in the back of my pants. When the meeting was over and Congressman Clay engaged in side conversations with some of the other guys, I slipped out of a side door and headed home.
I really liked those pants. Madelyn was great at sewing, so I took them to her house to see if she could do anything. She told my wife, also named Madelyn, “This boy has blown the entire (behind) out of these pants, huh!?” She worked her magic and repaired the rip.
I wore those pants to this year’s Musial Awards. Almost 10 years later, her work still holds. The threads haven’t budged. The ties still bind. Happy birthday, Mama!
THE NATIONAL SPORTSMANSHIP FOUNDATION
LAUNCHES THE GOOD SPORT CLUB
ST. LOUIS – Nov. 21, 2017 – The National Sportsmanship Foundation has launched The Good Sport Club as part of its mission to promote sportsmanship across the country.
Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission, made the announcement in St. Louis on Saturday at the Musial Awards, which annually recognize the greatest moments of sportsmanship and the biggest names in sports who embody class and character.
“Tonight, the Musial Awards launches the most meaningful club in sports: none other than the Good Sport Club. We invite all athletes, coaches, parents and fans across the country to join the Club by taking the pledge at GoodSportClub.org to show Respect, Effort and Fun in everything they do. In the process, you will be helping us lead and build a movement of kindness and civility on and off the field to make our communities stronger and more resilient,” said Viverito.
Ultimately, the Good Sport Club aims to inspire people to make their communities stronger and more resilient by inspiring, modeling, recognizing and rewarding acts of sportsmanship. And not just for professional athletes, but for everyday heroes like coaches, parents, refs, teachers and, of course, kids. By practicing the values of sportsmanship, the Good Sport Club believes that we can all become better citizens and help build a more civil society.
The National Sportsmanship Foundation was launched in 2012 by the St. Louis Sports Commission to inspire people across the country to be good sports. In addition to producing the annual Musial Awards, the organization implements programs that create positive environments for kids to play sports and that reinforce the importance of respect, civility, selflessness and integrity at all levels. The Musial Awards are named for Stan “The Man” Musial, the late St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer, who was one of the greatest players in baseball history and the ultimate good sport.
The Founding Partners of The Good Sport Club include: Purpose + Sport – who inspires the business of sport to do good and do well; Enso –who builds mission-driven brands and initiatives for positive impact at scale; Oliver Russell – who build brands for purpose driven companies; and the Positive Coaching Alliance – who create better athletes/better people through positive, character-building experiences. The Good Sport Club online store is powered by Doing Good Works, who has created a new way to connect communities and turn transactions into transformations.
Join the Good Sport Club by taking the pledge to be a good sport at GoodSportClub.org.