Pat Tillman: Sportsman and Hero

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If you're into sports, you've seen it happen. You've probably even experienced it, football players shaking hands after four quarters of knocking each other around, tennis players leaping over the net to shake hands with their opponents after a hard-fought match or Soccer players exchanging jerseys after an intense 90 minutes. Boxers touch gloves at the beginning of each round, and then hug after beating each other into a pulp for 12 rounds. It seems like competitors in every event, from spelling bees to hockey, behave this way. It's all part of sportsmanship, a great tradition in sports and competition that means playing clean and handling both victory and defeat with grace, style, and dignity. What Is Sportsmanship? Sportsmanship is defined as, playing fair, following the rules of the game, respecting the judgment of referees and officials, and treating opponents with respect. Some people define good sportsmanship as the "golden rule" of sports. In other words, treating the people you play with and against as you'd like to be treated yourself. You demonstrate good sportsmanship when you show respect for yourself, your teammates, and your opponents, for the coaches on both sides, and for the referees, judges, and other officials. Learning good sportsmanship means finding that the positive attitude learned on the field carries over into other areas of life. At school, for example, you're able to appreciate the contributions made by classmates and know how to work as part of a team to complete a project. In the last few years, taunting, trash-talking, gloating, and cheap shots have become all too common in sports. You've may have seen athletes who take their own successes too seriously. They celebrate a goal with a prolonged victory dance or constantly brag about their abilities. This is the exact opposite of what sportsmanship is all about. This kind of behavior might make you feel tough or intimidating to an opponent, but it can also cause you to lose the...
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