Sportsmanship: on and off the court

Be a Sport
The men’s basketball game during family weekend was great… Except for the group of JBU students sitting in front of us. While JBU’s unofficial cheer squad can be annoying sometimes, they’re usually just funny and make the games more interesting. This was not the case. This weekend I was slightly embarrassed to be a JBU fan. Towards the end of the game, it was very tempting to go to the Oklahoma City team’s coach and apologize on behalf of the rest of the JBU fans.

Mirriam-Webster defines “sportsmanship” as the conduct involving a sense of fairness, respect for one’s opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing while participating in a sport.” The Golden Eagles did fine with that, but the fans are another story.

Respect the Refs. Without them, there wouldn’t be a game. They do their best to be fair. Maybe we don’t agree with certain calls, but we can’t disagree with every single one. We are all humans and our team isn’t perfect—we ALL make mistakes and one should accept responsibility and move on.

Respect the opposing team. It’s just a game. We aren’t debating a life-or-death issue. Even if we were, being rude and demeaning is not the response that’s going to get results. Mirroring the opposing team’s coaches is amusing. Yelling “left, right, left, right, sit down” is fun, especially when the player on the other team is trying to hide a grin. Counting their dribbles on free throws is fine, but being rude is out of question.

Make our team proud. If you were playing on the team, would you want the other team to subconsciously base their opinion of you from a small group of loud, rude fans? The Golden Eagles play hard, and it’s not fair to them if we as fans give them a bad name.

Christ Over All. I recognize that not all JBU students are Christians. But if you are a Christian, would someone be able to tell that you are a believer by how you cheer? Booing the refs and yelling demeaning things at players on the other team isn’t exactly a way to let your light shine.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be excited and enthusiastic at JBU sporting events. If we all sat there in silence, it wouldn’t be much fun! Luke 6:31 says: “Do to other as you would have them do to you.” What I am saying is to be respectful. That’s all. It’s not that difficult.