Sportsmanship remains core value in sports


Emily Dixon

Girls volleyball shakes hands with Princess Anne before a game in the gym on Sept. 25.

Handshakes at the end of any game, helping opponents off of the ground, and fair, respectful play are often common occurrences seen in any sport. The value of sportsmanship is taught from a young age by parents and coaches in an effort to promote proper behavior, teamwork, and graciousness- in wins and losses.

Ocean Lakes values sportsmanship. In fact, it has been recognized 19 times with the annual Claudia Dodson VHSL Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award.

“It’s one of the most important aspects of any sport because we value not just playing, but how we play and the benefit of being good citizens,” said student activities coordinator John Williams.

According to, essential elements of sportsmanship include playing with integrity, respect of officials and coaches, self-control maintenance, and being a good sport and teammate.

Team leaders are an essential part of maintaining group sportsmanship and composure. They tend to stand out. The athlete who takes the initiative to be a role model does not go unnoticed.

When it comes to role models, freshman Jordan Mayer has noticed several on the football team.

“There’s a few. Josh, Myles, Deshawn, [Car]los, they all help each other out. If someone messes up, they tell them to move forward,” said Jordan. “To me, [good sportsmanship] represents leadership: how to represent a team, to act as a team, to get through rough times, you need someone to encourage you to do better.”

On the other hand, intentional or not, bad sportsmanship can be detrimental. Trash talk on the sidelines, getting in an opponent’s face, fighting, and skipping the handshakes after a game does not help anyone.

Often, players feed off of each other’s negative energy when trash talk, fights, and penalties occur.

“Without sportsmanship, your team won’t be good as a whole. It helps the team have a good relationship when you encourage each other,” said junior Kara Lee.

Sportsmanship remains valuable for the integrity of sports.

“Sportsmanship is important for the respect of people. It’s generally an important human aspect to be respectful,” said psychology teacher and student activities assistant Carlin Conaway. “Instilling that in student-athletes in high school is important for long term development of respect and good relationships with others to carry on into adulthood.”