The Art of Sportmanship

by Coach “Blydawg” Blythe

I  felt inspired to write about sportsmanship today.  As a coach and a former high school and college athlete, I completely understand how it feels to lose your cool, heck I have even done it a time or two.  However, having said that, I do not think I have ever lost it to the point in which I witnessed today. I currently am one of the assistant head coaches for a local Club Wrestling Team program.  While attending a local high school dual meet today, I unfortunately witnessed the ultimate act of un-sportmanship.

Northwest High School versus Keller Central High School in a dual meet wrestling match. Keller Central has one of the best wrestlers in the state at 182 in Greg Wilson. While I applaud this kid for having an outstanding career, a two time state champion, and looking for his 147th consecutive win, he needs lessons on how to be a true champion. While you are impressive, committing to the University of Oklahoma (congrats), you need to remember you are not the greatest thing since sliced bread. I could not find you ranked amongst the elite wrestlers in your weight class nationally. I checked the top 20 in Intermat Wrestling and the top 12 of Amateur Wrestling News*.  I hope OU knows what they are getting in you by the way of a poor sport. (*as of the time of this article)

What happened exactly? Well Mr. Wilson you have been striking fear in the hearts of most of the local 0pponents all year. Everyone knows your records and how good you are. Meanwhile, our wrestler has not been wrestling as long or may not have the same amount of technique as you, but he has heart. When a wrestler sets a goal of not getting pinned or losing by technical fall and just wants to last, I have to give him kudos. He could have just become another stat for you, but no he did try to not succumb to your ego. You lost your composure not once, but twice. Throwing someone in a somersault out of bounds after the whistle is nothing short of being a coward. Finishing a takedown by slamming your opponent on his head is also unacceptable especially when the first infraction had already occurred.  So what, you could not pin him, that is no reason to become a maniac. Sticking you tongue out to the crowd that boos you, making fun of the opposing coach for trying to coach his kid, all these signal the worst type of athlete…a poor sport.

Not only did you embarrass yourself in front of an entire gym full of spectators on the mat, once the match was called for the safety of our wrestler, you then proceeded to throw your headgear, storm of the mat, yell obscenities and to top it off, break the gym door as you crashed through it. Is this your idea of how a senior leads his team? Is this how you lead by example? What is even sadder in my opinion is the fact that you are the coaches son. I am sure your father is so very proud of your behavior. I am sure the University of Oklahoma is just clapping their hands to get you on the team now.

I teach my kids to always lead by example, especially my seniors. I tell them how important it is to the under class-men, most freshman look up to them so whether they are team captains, varsity, JV or the stat keepers, they need to act like champions.  Champions don’t slack off in practice, they don’t showboat, they keep their cool in matches and even in defeat they show respect.

So Mr. Wilson, you not only shammed yourself, your coach, your team, and your school, but you also brought down the attention to our sport we don’t need. Trying to get recognition, publicity and the attention of fans, the temper tantrum you had will only set us back. We will once again be labeled as barbarians, brutes and be the step-child of other sports. Administrations will think twice about inviting your school back or even worse they decide not to host another meet and/or cut funding for the program.  I am sure the last thing Birdville thought was that they would have to replace a door and possible the door frame from hosting a wrestling match.  I hope you have enough grace and self dignity to apologize for your actions, own up to breaking a school door and show everyone you are a champion and not a spoiled, coddled brat.

These are purely my own opinions and have no affiliation with any schools, teams or other entities.

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