Much has been said about the now infamous New Mexico women's soccer player (Elizabeth Lambert) who was caught on tape roughing up her competitors (BYU players). We wanted to find out if that display of poor sportsmanship says anything about the person off the field. Most of us were more than likely appalled after video surfaced of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert pulling the pony tail of her opponent so hard it slammed her to the ground. So many of us were appalled that someone would act so blatantly violent to her opponent and that she was allowed to stay in the game.
Steve Burckhalter is the Associate Director of Dakota Alliance (soccer club). He also coaches boys and girls soccer here in Sioux Falls. He says he will not tolerate bad behavior from his players or their parents.
Burckhalter says, "It's important to recognize that competition is healthy. But it order to have a healthy competition you need to treat the other team, officials, coaches and parents with respect. And I think that's true in life."
Avera Behavioral Health Outpatient Therapist Jon Feiock says good sportsmanship boils down to good behavior. Kids learn and often mimic those behaviors early on from mom and dad.
Feiock says, "In everyday conversations around the house are the parents polite and respectful or do they bark orders and are belittling? If they are doing that in front of the kids the kids will more than likely model that and have the same behavior whether it's on the field or school or with family and friends."
When parents yell at their kids during games they probably think they are motivating them. Feiock says that can actually have the opposite effect. It can disrupt play and diminish the players self esteem and self confidence. Both things they'll need in life off the field and on.
Feiock says, "You have to really work on the way you present your message."
It's true what our parents said, It's not if you win or lose. It's how you play the game. Parents need to remember that too because your children are learning all about the game of life from you.
Feiock also says be mindful of what's talked about on the car ride home after a game, making sure not to badmouth other players because then that makes you a poor sport and you want to lead by example.