March 7, 2007
The ICA Sportsmanship Guide Dawg Committee is proud to announce Tori Tyler as the inaugural winner of the UW Sportsmanship Day Essay Contest. Below is Tyler's essay.
UW Student-Athletes were invited to write a 500 word essay on sportsmanship in support of the Institute for International Sport's 17th Annual National Sportsmanship Day "Dare to Play Fair." Our essay contest was held in conjunction with a national essay contest sponsored by the USA Today Newspaper. Over 13,500 schools from all education levels participated in the contest with the national winners having their essays printed in the USA Today. You can view the winning essays of the national contest by going to this link: USA TODAY.com
Courtesy of Tori Tyler
Sportsmanship is more than shaking your opponent's hand after a game or giving a positive remark to your competitor before a race. It is about respect, gratitude, and fairness to yourself, your coaches, your teammates, and your competitors. Winning is not really about a score or time, but winning is more of the way you conduct yourself on and off the playing field. Admiration comes from those who display qualities of true character and an appreciation of Sportsmanship day. It is very important for every athlete to display integrity, fairness, and respect. In doing so then the spirit of the competition thrives and is fueled by honest rivalry, courteous relations, and graceful acceptance of the results.
Being an athlete myself, I've encountered people who respect this code and those who don't. In my mind the relationships that I have carried on with my competitors and teammates has meant more to me than the medals and trophies I have won along he way. Even as a young child I remember one event that gave me the confidence and attitude to pursue my athletic goals. I can vividly remember one such comment that a competitor said to me that to this day encourages me and brings a smile to my face.
I was only 10 years old, and playing soccer and doing some running which I enjoyed a lot. My family and I entered a road race one weekend in San Francisco and I was excited to run my first 5k road race. The enthusiastic and encouraging crowd of runners helped me start off at a good pace as I rolled right through the first two miles really enjoying myself. Soon enough though I found myself running amongst a herd of men in their singlets and race shorts. They were certainly fit and setting a good pace, thus one could only imagine how their pride and dignity fell once they saw a diminutive ten year old blonde, pony-tailed girl sprinting by them.
It surprised me how some reacted: some would swear, others would sprint back ahead only to tire themselves out, and some seemed to fake a pain and drop out. To me, the fact that a group of men acting like this was rather naive, and discouraging. Futhermore, after the race some of the men claimed that I must have taken a short cut or started the race earlier. These comments hurt my sense of pride and sense of accomplishment, and the race experience then became not enjoyable.
As I walked back to find my family, an older man who had also run the race came up to me, shook my hand and gave me a pat on my back. He said to me, "You were rolling out there girl, bet the next time I see you it will be on the Olympic podium."
This encouraging comment so lifted my spirits and attitude towards racing again and again. The fact that someone believed and admired my effort was an inspiration to me. I wasn't the first-place finisher or the world-breaking racer: I was just a little girl with a huge heart for running. This one comment made me realize what I might become and that I might have running potential. That to me is sportsmanship at its best.