Easy to Be A Good Sport After a Win


Recently, on one of our radio sports shows in Charleston, I went on a rant about the concept of shaking hands after sporting events.

What triggered my blast was the end of the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat Eastern Conference final in the NBA playoffs. Usually, after a series ends, many players from the two teams shake hands with each other. They don’t do it at the end of the games, but they often do it at the end of the series.

In the Celtics-Heat series, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett of the Celtics left the floor early and did not shake hands. I can remember that Isaiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer of the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons did the same thing to Michael Jordan and the Bulls back in the early 90’s.

My point is this. It is easy to shake your opponents hand when you win the game.  It is not always easy to do when you lose.

Anyone can be a good sport when their team wins. The athletes with true character can do it, even after the most heart-breaking of losses. 

John Wooden once said, "Losing doesn’t BUILD character. It REVEALS it." The Wizard was right. Rondo and Garnett revealed a great deal about their character when the Celtics lost to the Heat. 

I am not a big hockey fan, but hockey has it right. After every NHL playoff series, it is tradtion that no matter how tough the series, no matter how bitter  the fights, the teams line up, look each other in the eye and shake hands. It is tradition. Even if they don’t feel like doing it, the players still do it out of respect for their opponent and respect for the game. 

Keep that in mind the next time you are giving your team praise when they win a game and then shake hands. We are all good sports when we win. Tell me about it when they get their hearts ripped out in a game and then show up and shake hands.

That is true character. 

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