The importance of sportsmanship

The Marist football team lost on the final play against the Toreros at San Diego on October 12th. The game resulted in some Marist players upset by the way San Diego reacted after winning.

Marist took a 33-32 lead with five minutes remaining in the game, but San Diego drove down the field to set up a game-winning field goal. San Diego’s kicker, David Last, missed the 33-yard field goal and Marist celebrated thinking they had won the game. However, Marist was called for a penalty which allowed San Diego to attempt the field goal for a second time. Last, this time from 28 yards, made the field goal to win the game and San Diego stormed the field to celebrate.

Although sports tend to be a rough battle with the other team, good sportsmanship is viewed as an important part of the game. Some Marist players were bothered by the way San Diego acted after the game, saying that they failed to show respect for the other team after celebrating. “You don’t see that often,” said Marist Head Coach Jim Parady, “I think the emotion of the situation trunked everything, it was just that one situation.”

Sportsmanship is present throughout all sports, but poor sportsmanship tends to be displayed more often in certain sports. Football is a physical and aggressive sport that often leads to players losing their temper. Coach Parady notes that players on the professional level are advised to show good sportsmanship due to high viewership. However, professional football players still display acts of poor sportsmanship when players become too heated. Coach Parady attributes unsportsmanlike conduct to players leaving their comfort zone, “emotionally players get so charged up that they lose their personality.”

According to Coach Parady, sportsmanship has also developed over the past 10 to 20 years, believing that is has become more off the field than on. “The sportsmanship is a lot worse for the spectators,” said Parady, “Parents now tend to be over the top, they cause more of the problems than the actual people who are competing on the field.” He also claimed that players seem to be brought up to express themselves much more than 10 or 15 years ago.

Marist Athletics puts great emphasis on sportsmanship throughout all athletic programs. “I think there are certain standards we feel that student athletes on all of our teams have to uphold,” said Mike Ferraro, the sports information director at Marist College, “Not only the quality of the player but the quality of the person as well.” Unsportsmanlike conduct does not just hurt the team with unnecessary penalties, but it could hurt the image of Marist College. “We want to have people that represent themselves and represent us the right way,” said Ferraro.

Sportsmanship could also be presented in the way you play on the field. “By playing as hard as you can, you’re respecting the other team.” said Henry Zhang, a former Marist student-athlete, “If you’re taking it easy you’re not respecting the other team and you’re not respecting yourself.” Zhang believes that the post-game handshake is the ultimate display of sportsmanship. “No matter how rough it got on the field, you’re showing respect for the other team,” said Zhang.

The lack of post-game handshakes combined with the emotional loss is what left some Marist players bitter. Coach Parady did say that some San Diego players approached Marist quarterback Chuckie Looney to say “good game”. However, players that were looking for handshakes felt disappointed. Players understood that San Diego did not mean to appear unsportsmanlike; it was just the result of an emotional win.

Although the loss was frustrating, the team did not let it affect their next game. “All eyes are on Davidson” said Coach Parady, “We were frustrated with the loss in the way that it happened, but we’ve put it behind us.” Marist went on to defeat Davidson with ease, winning 42-14. Unsportsmanlike conduct is a rare occurrence in most sports and it is usually not severe when it does occur. In some cases, an unsportsmanlike display is not purposely done, such as the Marist vs. San Diego game.

“For the most part, coaches are doing a good job reinforcing how they want their team to present themselves on and off the field.” said Coach Parady.

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