"For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,

He writes - not that you own or lost - but how you played the Game."

(Grantland Rice, 1880-1954)

It sometimes seems in our sports today that the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost. While winning at all costs and poor sportsmanship may be condoned, and perhaps even promoted in professional sports, this does not mean it is the proper way for athletes to behave. The image you project as an athlete is a product of your character. Good sportsmanship is not just what you do on the field, it is hopefully the way you conduct your life both on, and off, the field. In the same way, unsportsmanlike behaviour (acts that are unfair, dishonest, disrespectful or against the rules) are unsportsmanlike because they are unethical and if you are unethical in sports, can you be ethical in the other areas of your life - your business dealings, your treatment of others, your family?
SPO expects all participants to follow the basics of sportsmanship. Some general rules to be a good sport are as follows:


  1. The “Golden Rule” - Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Show respect for them if you expect it for yourself.
  2. Have an understanding and an appreciation of the rules. The spirit of good sportsmanship depends on conforming to the intent of the rule and not looking for a loop hole. (Example - all players present must bat so several weak hitters are asked to stay home for an important game.)
  3. Enjoy yourself and encourage enjoyment for others. We play sports for recreation so let’s make it that way!
  4. Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t blame others for your mistakes or find excuses for poor behaviour.
  5. Recognize and appreciate good performances, especially by the opponent. Applause for an opponent’s good play demonstrates generosity and courtesy. It shows a true awareness of the game and athletic ability.
  6. Exhibit respect for the Officials. Umpires are impartial arbitrators who perform to the best of their ability to make sure the game is played fair and within the rules. Mistakes made by all those involved are part of the game and must be accepted.
  7. Expect proper behaviour from your teammates. If you allow a teammate to cheat, to play dangerously, to argue and scream at officials, you are condoning that behaviour.

And remember, every time you go out and play, you are being watched. You may not realize it, but someone - possibly someone young and very impressionable - is observing you, and how you act.  Your behaviour may have a significant positive (or negative) impact on them!