The Institute for International Sport will administer the 17th Annual National Sportsmanship Day celebration on March 6. Over 13,500 schools from throughout the United States and in many, many countries throughout the world are planning to participate in discussions and activities aimed at promoting good sportsmanship.
The two themes for National Sportsmanship Day 2007 are "Don't Punch Back, Play Harder" and "Defeat Gamesmanship." National Sportsmanship Day programs are designed for student-athletes from elementary school right up through intercollegiate competition.
The Institute for International Sport cites five principles of honorable competition for children to remember:
Respect the game. This includes showing respect for opponents, referees, coaches and fans.
Play by the rules, and within the spirit of the rules. Don���t try to get away with cheating or taking shortcuts just because you think no one will notice or catch you. The only real victories are honest victories, untainted by cheating or gamesmanship.
Play your best, and understand that doing your best does not mean embarrassing or humiliating your opponent.
Don���t punch back, play harder. When provoked, an athlete should ascend to the highest level of honorable competition by increasing focus and intensity, not by reacting in an undisciplined, unproductive way.
Employ competitive self-restraint ��� play hard but with self-control.
Sunday evening, 8th ranked North Carolina emerged victorious over the 14th ranked Duke, 86-72. The latest result of college basketball's nastiest rivalry left Duke with their largest margin of defeat all season and North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough with blood streaming down his face. The injury came with 14.5 seconds left, when Hansbrough leaped for a layup. After the ball left his hand, he was struck in the face by Gerald Henderson's right elbow.
In a statement released after the game, the three officials ruled the foul, "as combative and confrontational action" and said such a foul is "ruled a fight... By rule, it is an automatic ejection. By NCAA rule, (Henderson) must sit out the next game."
CBS analyst Billy Packer repeatedly said the foul was not flagrant on the air. After watching numerous replays, I think while Henderson might not have been targeting Hansbrough���s nose with his elbow, he was definitely going for much harder of a foul than necessary. Everyone is entitled their own view, but you have to wonder what he had in mind with his team down 14 and only 18 seconds to go in the game.
Do you think this was an intentional cheap shot?
Either way, it���s a good example of why it is important to keep your emotions in check at the end of a game that isn���t turning out the way you wanted to. One thing is for sure, the Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry just stepped up another notch.