The ACC makes it sportsmanship week, but will our athletes ever play nice?

Before the game started, college football players from Syracuse and Wake Forest met at midfield to shake hands.

Before the game started, college football players from Syracuse and Wake Forest met at midfield to shake hands.

It’s “Sportsmanship Week in the ACC,” the announcer intoned, explaining to those of us wondering just why the players from these two college football teams were standing wide, almost end zone-to-end zone, facing each other quite near the center of the field and ready to take those last couple of strides to shake hands.

All this in the Carrier Dome on Saturday for the teams of Syracuse and Wake Forest before the game even started.

Nice idea, I thought. Who’s not all-in for sportsmanship?

I cheered the kickoff.

And the players behaved like they always do. There was much woofing between plays. The winner of each small, little battle was likely to thump a chest and lord it over the loser. The loser, in turn, was just as likely to defend his honor with gestures that screamed “that will never happen again.”

The ref had to send them back in their own directions too often.

I am quite certain similar scenes played out in stadiums all over America, Atlantic Coast Conference declarations of make-nice be damned.

The modern athlete, you see, doesn’t seem to think so much that sportsmanship is something that’s appropriate during the action. They’ll mostly tolerate each other beforehand, sharing space when needed during warmups. Once the final whistle blows, it’s like a switch goes off in their brains. Opposing players will shake hands, hug each other and even kneel together, different color jerseys intermingled for a prayer circle.

The only time the notion of sportsmanship seems to light the bulb over today’s players during a game is when somebody is injured. In fact, the worse the hurt, the more quickly and thoroughly they forget about the battle and show human concern.

Some of us fans wish this wasn’t so. The barking and chest-thumping do nothing for me. I’d prefer the in-game celebrations be relegated to jumping up and down, hugging, and OK, a little dance after a touchdown. Stop a runner or break up a pass on a big third down, don’t worry, be happy.

There’s a fine line, but players should show more respect for the game.

Too much gloating sullies the accomplishment.

No matter the sport, rubbing it in during the game cheapens my experience as a fan.

I want the players to behave like you should in life. I’ve come to accept the belief that look-at-what-I-accomplished-because-I’m-so-good is OK.

I fist-pump when I sink a long putt in golf. I elbow-swing a strike in bowling. I even have been known to break into a little victory dance after putting the last period on a piece of writing of which I am particularly proud.

I will never embrace that next step, the gestures or words that bring you to look-at-what-I-accomplished-because-you-stink.

That only leads to being shunned by your social circle, or even ugly encounters in the parking lot.

It really is too bad that behavior from our athletes has sunk low enough that a big, important college conference like the ACC thinks a week has to be designated to hammer home the significance of sportsmanship. But it is a good reminder.

3 thoughts on “The ACC makes it sportsmanship week, but will our athletes ever play nice?

  1. Pingback: I will call 2013 life-changing | markbialczak

  2. Totally agree. That kind of in-your-face nonsense has turned me off to many sports, especially basketball. Do you ever see an NBA player smile after making a great play? Hardly ever. Mostly, they scowl and make menacing gestures and faces. Is there joy in that? I don’t think so. I know I’m old school, old-fashioned. But this relatively new behavior is not only a turnoff, it encourages more of the same among impressionable followers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.