Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup Etiquette

Are you watching the World Cup? If you aren't, you probably know people who are, whether it's your co-workers, family, friends, or folks online. It's impossible to be unaware that it's going on, even if you aren't a sports fan in general, and for good reason—it's the World Cup. The whole world is invested in this, and usually with a fervor many in the U.S. would be more familiar with (American) football, if that. In countries where soccer is the sport, enthusiasm for the game is incredible, even inspiring.

As you surely know by now, if you've been watching the games.

We think it's a great time to talk about sports etiquette! There's a lot to say on this subject, but for now, let's keep just a few things in mind, whether you're playing, watching, or coaching a game for adults or children:

Sportsmanship. This means enjoying the game for the sake of the game, whether you win or lose. This might be a hard concept to consider, especially when our culture often values striving for perfection— placing emphasis on the end result instead of the process of enjoying and learning from the game. A recent survey suggests that sportsmanship is on the decline among youth sports. We say: try to remember that playing the game can be immensely fun, whether you win or lose.

Respect. This doesn't just apply to cheating or being uncommonly rude to the other team. Grownups of young athletes: this also applies to Soccer Moms and Dads everywhere. This Washington Post article  reminds us of the perils coaches face...from parents. (Read this for more from coaches' perspectives...and this for tips on how to model good behavior for younger players.)

Unity. World sporting events can be powerful in drawing people together. Enjoy the World Cup as a way to reach out to other fans and bond over the exhilarating highs and heartbreaking lows of the game. Embrace the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures. Bond while marveling at the feats of top athletes. Let the World Cup and other sports bring people together—and have fun!

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