Playing sport is a fun way to exercise, keep healthy and de-stress, especially after a tense exam or demanding study session.
Playing a sport – particularly a team sport – is also a great way of strengthening camaraderie, developing a healthy sense of competition and fostering good sportsmanship.
There are several unwritten sporting rules that govern good sporting manners how a player should behave – both on and off the field.
For example, bad attitude, intimidation and insults towards sports officials are all a big NO in the sporting arena.
As a sportsperson, it is your responsibility to control your behaviour on the field, even if you are being provoked. So, if someone from the opposition team yells or boos at you, stay calm and remember you are there to play your game.
Do not be tempted to retaliate with bad behaviour of your own.
Also, a bad joke or unflattering comments about the coach, officials or anyone outside the game could escalate negative emotions. Therefore, being respectful of everyone, on and off the field, is an important part of good sporting etiquette.
While losing a game hurts for everyone, as a good sportsperson, you need to acknowledge the opposing team’s great play.
A handshake (or an elbow or foot shake, to be on the safe side during the Covid-19 pandemic) shows good sportsmanship.
Do not be tempted to imitate someone like Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane, who is known for becoming overly emotional and accusing opposition teams of foul play during post-match interviews.
This kind of bad behaviour dampens the mood and can be embarrassing for the whole team.
The same rules of good sportsmanship also apply to parents, whose devotion to supporting their children on the sports field can sometimes translate into overly emotional and bad behaviour from the sidelines.
Having good manners never goes out of style. Listen to the coach and officials when they communicate with you, and be an active participant in the game, even when you are not feeling up to it.
Know the rules, and understand that good sporting etiquette also includes keeping the safety of other players in mind.
During these times of the Covid-19 pandemic, this means not sharing water bottles and avoiding direct physical contact as much as possible.
Finally, good sportsmanship is also about having the right attitude and strong perseverance. Like basketball legend Michael Jordan once said: “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed”.
It is this positive attitude and determination that helped propel him to being among the best basketball players in the world.