Remember to practice good sportsmanship this postseason, not just free throws

This time of year, the Michigan High School Athletic Association makes a major push to stress sportsmanship at athletic events.

At playoff/tournament games, emotions can sometimes run so high that players and fans alike lose their cool and fail to conduct themselves in a proper manner.

Such was the case at a non-MHSAA game I saw recently.

In a tournament championship contest, one team soundly beat the other for the title.

When the two teams lined up after the game for the medals ceremony, one member of the losing squad went directly to the locker room, apparently too angry to see the winning team honored in any way.

That was the wrong thing to do.

But, as medals were being presented to the losing team, one member – after picking up his medal – went directly to the winning squad and shook hands with every member of that team.

Soon, a few more members of the losing team followed suit. They lost, but were willing to congratulate members of the winning team.

It was a classy moment.

Not every member of the losing team shook hands with the championship squad. That’s unfortunate. All of them should have done the right thing.

But enough did to earn the respect of most everyone there.

When it was the winning team’s time to receive its medals, however, not one member reciprocated the losing team’s gesture in shaking hands.


The winners either had no respect for the losing team whatsoever, or were so wrapped up in themselves, they didn’t care to show any class.

It was a disturbing sight as they were all old enough to know better.

I couldn’t help but wonder whether these young athletes would ever learn to be class acts down the road. Probably not. They probably weren’t brought up that way.

I blame the winning coach for not having at least his team captain go to the losers and shake hands. It would have at least meant SOMETHING.

The MHSAA, on its website, stresses ways to show sportsmanship during athletic contests.

One is to “Be a good loser, not a bad winner.”

The winning team I saw should take heed of that maxim.

So should all teams competing in tournament action the next 3-4 weeks. Win or lose, be classy, not jerks.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251