Are you competitive? Is winning the most important thing? Or do you simply enjoy playing the game regardless of the final result? How you answer these questions might give you some insight into whether you're a good sport or not.
Although most games have winners and losers, the goal of sports is not to win every game. The real goals include getting exercise, having fun, and learning important skills, like teamwork and good sportsmanship.
Good sportsmanship is all about respect. Good sports respect the other players on their team. They respect the players on opposing teams. They respect their coaches, and they also respect the referees or other officials involved in their games.
So what does bad sportsmanship look like? Bad sportsmanship is all about disrespect. Yelling at teammates when they mess up during the game; cheating or trying to gain an unfair advantage over opposing players; talking back to coaches or referees—those are all examples of bad sportsmanship.
Kids usually learn sportsmanship — good and bad — from the adults in their lives. Players' parents and coaches set examples that kids tend to follow. If parents and coaches show disrespect to other fans, referees, or each other, kids will likely act the same way on the field.
Good sportsmanship can be shown in many ways. Some of them are very basic and easy to do, like shaking hands with other players before or after a game. Other examples may take a little more courage, such as acknowledging a great play made by the opposing team.
Learning good sportsmanship is important because it helps you develop an attitude of graciousness and respect that will carry over into all the other areas of your life. If you're a good sport on the field, you'll also likely be a good sport in the classroom. Being a good sport in the classroom will eventually lead to being a good sport in the workplace.
So be a good sport in whatever you do! The example you set can be a powerful teaching tool for others. When others see you acting in a way that makes it clear that winning isn't the most important thing, you can move on to focusing on the important things, like having fun, getting exercise, and improving your skills!