Chess and Sportsmanship

Oct 26, 2009, 8:53 AM |

Chess and Sportsmanship.

I use to coach basketball and volleyball at the junior high level and enjoyed it a lot.  I have seen a lot of junior, high school, and college level athletic competitions and sportsmanship is an attribute that I always look for during the competitions.  As a spectator I applaud those individuals that give a hand to their opponent if they need help off the ground.  Why? Sportsmanship is one thing that is missing within our youth.  Too many times I have sat in stands at youth sporting events having to listen to parents critique and push their children to love and be the best at the sport that they are doing.  I want to see all children love athletics, but at what costs?

I have witnessed tee ball parents taking the game so seriously that they yelled at their child for missing the ball.  I have witnessed parents pushing their children to excel in sports while not pushing them to excel in the classroom.  Everyone wants to win but what type of message are we as a society sending to our youth when we forget that winning is not always everything.  I have had the honor of coaching some very talented individuals that could excel in the classroom and on the court.  Those individuals knew sportsmanship, they had heart and were not afraid to show it when they played. 

I have always wanted to see chess be used in our schools as a teaching tool.  Does playing chess meet any national or state standard, probably not?  Does playing chess teach you the concepts that you might not always win and sometimes admitting defeat is the best solution?  I do not know about you but when I meet someone that can admit defeat I have met someone “who has been around the block a couple of times.”

Thanks for reading and good luck in your games!