What’s Your Favorite Sport?
"Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor." — Romans 12:10
Do you have a favorite sport? Maybe, maybe not, but regardless of the type of game we enjoy, our favorite aspect of any sport ought to be respect. We owe respect to our opponent and to ourselves, as well as to the sport we are playing. The name for such respect is sportsmanship, and it also includes courtesy and fairness. I’ve discovered a sportsman-like attitude in golf and in track more than in other sports. Golf is typically played with honor. Winning first place in track isn’t crucial; a runner can earn points for finishing third, fourth, or even fifth place.
There are many ways to be courteous to an opponent, such as shaking hands before and after a contest, helping another player off the ground, and congratulating the opponent after the game. However, when an athlete taunts or talks disrespectfully to an opponent, he or she is demonstrating pride and arrogance rather than sportsman-like conduct. Of course, there will always be athletes who may not seem worthy of our respect, but that is when we need to be examples of good sportsmanship. Humility must come before we can honor others. Coaches, players, officials, and fans need to talk about the importance of honoring the opponent and to set a good example by doing so.
Let’s all make an effort to honor and respect our opponents. This is really the heart of what sports is all about. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Co 9:24). The real prize is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
1. What is your favorite sport, and why?
2. How can an athlete or coach demonstrate sportsmanship to the opponent?
3. How does good sportsmanship honor God?
Extra Reading: Proverbs 15:33; Matthew 15:8; Colossians 3:23
Lord, thank You for the opportunity to participate in sports. Show me Your ways and guide me in Your truths as I strive to make the most of every opportunity and do my best to honor You and others. Amen.