National Sportsmanship Day is celebrated on the first Tuesday of March every year. This day has been celebrated since 1991. The International Sports Institute first established National Sportsmanship day in order to promote good sportsmanship around the country and to set high standards for future generations of athletes. The objective of this day is to tell people about the importance of sportsmanship. It encourages fair play, good etiquette, and good character. This day is to remind athletes and sports fans alike that being good at a sport isn’t the only important quality of an athlete — showing good sportsmanship is equally important.
History of National Sportsmanship Day
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word ‘sportsmanship’ has its origins in the 1700s where it was used in England among upper-class men who participated in country sports, such as hunting and fishing. The word is one of the most popular words still in use today.
In the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, the racist sentiment of the Nazi party was at an all-time high. Despite this, German competitor Luz Long, who was participating in the long jump event, helped an African American opponent named Jesse Owens to improve his form. Owens was representing the United States and had African roots. Long saw Owens struggling because of his form and gave him some great advice, despite the negative sentiment in Germany at the time towards people of color. This act of sportsmanship helped Owens secure the gold medal in the event.
In 1956, at the Australian National Championships, Australian runner John Landy showed a great example of sportsmanship when he helped his 19-year-old opponent, Ron Clarke, who had tripped and fallen. Landy, who was behind Clarke, stopped running and helped his opponent get back on his feet. After this, Landy resumed running and was somehow able to win the race. A statue was built to commemorate this display of sportsmanship.
During the 2005 Rome Masters, Andy Roddick showed remarkable sportsmanship in his tennis match against Fernando Verdasco. Roddick was announced as the winner of the match by mistake when in reality both Roddick and Verdasco were still at match point. Roddick called out this mistake and pointed out that the shot didn’t count. Verdasco went on to win that match.
National Sportsmanship Day timeline
The word is first used in England among upper-class men who participate in country sports such as hunting and fishing.
In the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, German player Long gives essential advice to his African-American opponent, Owens, about improving his posture.
Australian runner Landy stops running mid-race to help his 19-year-old opponent, Ron Clarke, after he trips and falls.
During the Rome Masters, tennis player Roddick shows remarkable sportsmanship in his match against Fernando Verdasco by pointing out that an extra point has been given to him by mistake.
National Sportsmanship Day FAQs
What is the true meaning of sportsmanship?
Good sportsmanship is treating other players, coaches, officials, and parents with respect.
Why is sportsmanship important?
Good sportsmanship is an important character trait that will benefit players throughout their lives — both on and off the field or pitch.
What is the most common offense of bad sportsmanship?
Cheating or rule-breaking to gain an unfair advantage is viewed as unsportsmanlike conduct.
How To Celebrate National Sportsmanship Day
Practice good sportsmanship
You can show good sportsmanship even if you are not an athlete. In your daily life, try showing proper etiquette and manners while dealing with other people.
Use this day as an opportunity to spread awareness about how important sportsmanship is. You can even share a post on social media with the hashtag #NationalSportsmanshipDay.
Learn from examples
You can find plenty of examples on the internet about athletes showing remarkable sportsmanship in matches and competitions. Read up about these instances and learn from them.
5 Facts About Sportsmanship
It’s about playing by the book
Sportsmanship involves playing fair without any cheating.
It means no trash-talking opponents
Talking behind your opponent’s back only reveals your own lack of self-confidence and is a mark of bad sportsmanship.
Being a team player is non-negotiable
It is important to play in a way that fully uses the strengths of your whole team.
It involves being a good friend
Showing good sportsmanship also includes being a good friend to your teammates and listening to their concerns.
Accepting your mistakes is important
The mark of a good sportsman is that he or she takes responsibility for their own mistakes instead of trying to blame other players.
Why We Love National Sportsmanship Day
To celebrate good etiquette
Sportsmanship demonstrates good behavior and etiquette. These are very important character traits for anyone to possess.
It’s a reminder of the importance of ethical training
This day reminds us of the significance of having a good character. It also reminds coaches of the need for athletes to be trained in the ethics pertaining to their sport.
We remember that it’s just a game
At the end of the day, it’s just a game. There is no point in hurting other people’s feelings or behaving rudely just to score a point.
National Sportsmanship Day dates