Sunday, May 18, 2008


Still woefully lax about blogging lately. But I just sent this note out to the 220 families on our local swim team, and would like to snag it for posterity by throwing it in to this post.


Sorry for a second message tonight. But I'd like to touch on the important subject of sportsmanship, which is especially relevant this week. Our meets each year with the Greentree and Sand Creek teams are always strongly contested. This strong spirit of competition is one of the great dimensions of participation in the summer swim program.

Please encourage your kids to live up to the challenge of great competition by also showing great sportsmanship at our meet this week - and for the entire season.

We all know that some of the fiercest competitors are also among the greatest sportsmen on and off the field of play. My background is golf, not swimming - so I point to Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. These great athletes were known for significant achievements; accomplished through a relentless personal drive to achieve greatness and to dominate their opponents. Yet at the end of every competition - and it's worth repeating - every competition - they were gentlemen who respected the challenges presented by their opponents.

Will you indulge me in two stories from yesterday's meet that bear repeating? Thanks.

A young Wahoo swimmer was mouthing off a bit on the ready bench, taunting the Waves swimmers nearby. One of our Waves was trying to respond, but couldn't get much past "Oh yeah, well...., well....". A board member quietly spoke to the Waves swimmer and said "How about if we are more polite today than they are?". His eyes lit up and he nodded his head. In part, he seemed relieved that he didn't need to find a way to trash talk back to his opponent. When he started his race, he took off on a tear and from 4th seed in his heat, he won handily. The trash talker followed in the next heat, and not surprisingly, finished last.

Another exchange was between two girls from the Wahoos. One teammate looked to the other at the start of the race and quietly whispered "good luck". Her teammate was a little surprised, and asked her to repeat what she said, then understood. The first girl swam hard, but didn't finish ahead of her teammate. As she got out of the pool, she looked at me and said "I really wanted to beat her today, but at least I improved my time.".

Good sportsmanship already abounds at our meets. But in the heat of our strongest battles it is easy for kids, or even parents, to lose sight of this. So - talk to your kids about how awesome it is to face a challenge, try their hardest and then see what the results bring. But most importantly, share with them that how they behave during and after the battle is what will make them a great person.

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

That's pretty cool.

Perhaps I'll distribute a modified version before the 2009 Decathlon.