Spectator Sportsmanship

by Cindy Post Senning on March 27, 2012

This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily periodically. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.


So often we talk about sportsmanship as it relates to players – follow the rules; listen to the coach; don’t blame the ref; be a good winner; be a good loser; and so on. Sometimes I like to think about sportsmanship as it relates to spectators. With school just starting there are new teams to be joined, games to be played, skills to be be learned, and competitions to be watched. This time of year presents a great opportunity for parents to live out the Golden Rule of Parenting as good sports. (The Golden Rule of Parenting: Always be the kind of person you want your children to be.) If you want your children to have good sportsmanship in the stands, you must be a good sport in the stands. What does that mean?

  • Cheer loudly when your team does something good.
  • Refrain from booing.
  • Never cheer when an opposing team player is hurt.
  • Keep control of your emotions.
  • Sit down when the crowd around you does.
  • Keep quiet when the participant needs to concentrate (golf and tennis for example)
  • There is no need to use offensive language.
  • Wait for a break in the action to move in and out of the row where you are sitting.
  • Need I even say it? Don’t throw things on the field/rink/court/track/etc.

Watching your kids at a sporting event can be so exciting. They’ve practiced for hours, they’ve worked to develop a team approach, they’ve invested their hearts and souls – not to mention their bodies. The sports field presents an opportunity for them to learn about winning and losing. The stands present an opportunity for you to teach them spectator sportsmanship – but a lesson that is every bit as important as the one they learn on the field.

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