THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
If you've ever had the opportunity to come to one of our trivia nights, you've probably had a good time and lots of fun. We have a lot of laughs while spending two hours trying to answer trivia questions...in fact, some people learn a few things!
Recently, however, I had an experience at a trivia night that struck me in such a way that I didn't really have a response beyond doing what was right in the eyes of OSIP.
Prior to the start of each trivia night, we hand out materials to all the teams, including paper, pens, rules, and an informational brochure on the organization. When we start the festivities, we encourage anyone who hasn't attended before to read the brochure (it's very small) to understand OSIP and why we do what we do. Within a few moments, we begin the first round of questions.
After each question is asked, my assistant(s) for the evening (we call them "rovers" since they rove around collecting the answers) go to each team to collect their answer and bring it to me. It's a small service we try to offer so that people don't have to get up after each question if possible. Well, on that night, the rovers brought me the answers after the first question, and I was floored by the name of one of the teams.
As a sidenote, we ask each team to name themselves. They can be as creative as they way, but they are asked to be mindful if children are present. We've had some great names, some of which can't be repeated on a family blog.
But on that night, one team decided to name themselves "Duke Sucks."
After only a moment to comprehend the situation and act upon it, I decided to simply record their name as "Duke" and announce it as such. I wasn't about to make a scene or force them to change it, but I wasn't going to compromise the values of our organization. But there was still one question I had: did this team not know they were playing trivia with a sportsmanship charity?
After two rounds of me not announcing their full team name, the team of two people asked one of the rovers why I wasn't announcing the full name. The rover looked down at the table where they were sitting and saw them watching a University of North Carolina basketball game on their phone. These were typical UNC fans who wanted to exert their dominance over their rival Duke. And the rover handled it perfectly: she simply told them we were a sportsmanship organization. The two team members, however, shrugged it off like it was nothing.
Now, the good news is that no scene was made that evening. The team left as soon as trivia was over (and they didn't win). But I was left wondering why they were so aloof to what was right in front of them. After all, we provided the documentation about our organization before trivia began. We even announced prior to trivia that people unfamiliar with us should read the brochure. And yet, they still chose to act in an unsportsmanlike manner. And when it was explained to them what was wrong, they didn't bother to change their name or anything.
Do people who partake in unsportsmanlike conduct consciously choose to ignore the golden rule? Or are they subconsciously trained to just act this way?
Regardless, poor sportsmanship comes in all shapes and sizes.
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Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.