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The Fundamentals of Sportsmanship

The NJSIAA and its member schools are strongly emphasizing the importance of GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP. The one thing that needs to be understood is that many people have not been exposed to the principles of GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP. Hopefully, the following will help everyone to understand his/her responsibilities at athletic contests.

  1. Gain an understanding and appreciation for the rules of the contest. To be well informed is essential. All involved must know the rules. Uninformed individuals should refrain from expressing opinions on officials, coaches, and administrative decisions. The spirit of GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP depends on conforming both to a rule’s intent and to the letter of a given rule.
  2. Exercise representative behavior at all times. A prerequisite to GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP requires one to understand his/her own prejudices that may become a factor in his/her behavior. The true value of interscholastic competition relies upon everyone exhibiting behavior which is representative of a sound value base. A proper perspective must be maintained if the educational values are to be realized. An individual’s behavior influences others whether or not that person is aware of it.
  3. Recognize and appreciate skilled performances regardless of affiliation. Applause for an opponent’s good performance displays generosity. It is a courtesy that should be regularly practiced. This not only represents GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP but also reflects a true awareness of the game by recognizing and acknowledging Quality.
  4. Exhibit respect for the officials. The officials of any contest are impartial arbitrators who are trained and who perform to the best of their ability. Players should not rationalize their own unsuccessful performances by placing responsibility on an official. The rule of GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP is to accept and abide by the decision made.
  5. Display openly a respect for the opponent at all times. Opponents are guests and should be treated cordially, provided with the best accommodations, and accorded tolerance at all times. Each person needs to be a positive representative for his/her team, school, and family. This is the Golden Rule in action.
  6. Display pride in your actions at every opportunity. Each individual must never allow his/her ego to interfere with good judgment and his/her responsibility as a school representative. This value is paramount since it suggests that the person cares about him/herself and how others perceive him/her.

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