Sportsmanship Question

Today’s post is a very simple question.  I’m curious to hear other people’s thoughts on this.  I’ll give you a little back story before I put up my poll.

Today, my girlfriend and I went to a regional softball game between Mizzou and Illinois.  We were only there for about 20 minutes because there was a huge line of storms headed our direction.  We saw about five hitters from Illinois and then the game was postponed for the evening.  Illinois did manage to scratch across one run in that short time.  That’s where my question comes from.

If you’ve ever been to a softball game, you know that it’s not uncommon for the players to come to the top step of the dugout and chant and cheer their hitter.  In most places, it’s encouraged.  Illinois took this very seriously.  They were very choreographed and very excited.  What caught my attention most, however, was when they scored their one run, the entire team greeted the scorer at home plate.  This was not a home run, it was a single to left with a runner on second.  In the first inning.

My question is this:

In a world where athletes can’t celebrate anything, is this crossing the line of sportsmanship?

This isn’t relegated to softball, when a player hits a homer in college baseball the whole team greets that player at home plate.  Imagine if this happened in a Major League game.

That’s all.  It’s not a big deal, I know, but I had never seen an entire team on the field to celebrate a run in the first inning of a game.  So give me some feedback, is this okay?  Is it weird?  Does it just not matter at all?  Let me know in the comments.

6 Responses

  1. Celebrate all you want but do it in the dugout. That whole aspect of softball bothers me. The chants and dancing and all of that. That makes it impossible for me to take the sport serious as a high level of competition, because the only other time you’ll see chanting going on by the players is when it’s little kids playing a game. It’s ridiculous. Display some professionalism and have some dignity. Leave the chanting to the fans, your job is to stay composed and focused on the game. That is what you’re there to do; to play and to win. You aren’t there to do the double duty of player/cheerleader. I have no problems with celebrations, and I even enjoy the premeditated celebrations that now get you a yellow hankie in football, but when you’re chanting like you should be sitting in the stands rather than on the bench, it’s just dumb. If you want others to take your sport seriously then you should act like you’re taking it seriously first.

  2. I think it’s overboard in softball. I don’t mind a passionate reaction in other sports because I feel that is a major difference from celebrating.

    In Basketball for instance, you get fouled and get the bucket when you’re down by 3 with a minute left and you fist pump or whatever. That I don’t mind. And I think it’s easy to notice between celebrating to show someone up and a passionate reaction.

    You can celebrate when you win is how I usually see it.

    Now on the flipside. If I do not like you and I want to taunt you then by all means – celebrate away.

  3. Choreographing celebrations at all may not be unsportsmanlike, but it certainly takes the point away from celebrating. The spontaneity of the moment is what makes it exciting.

  4. One thing I left out was that the Illini players would run up and down in front of the dugout high fiving when one of their players walked.

    That was pretty ridiculous.

    On the whole, though, I agree with all the comments here. I will say that I think the NFL takes it too far. If someone in the NFL does something like what Aubrey Huff did to Joba the other day, he’d be fined $25,000.

  5. Good topic… might not be a big deal right this moment, but you never know when the MSM is gonna grab one of these situations and run with it. I know very little about the unwritten (or maybe written?) codes of conduct for softball or baseball, but I think it’s probably not unsportsmanlike as long as the celebration comes when play is dead, and it’s not overdone. For example, in the softball game you saw, as long as it was limited to the first run of the game (regardless whether it was a HR) and done in a manner that would never possibly obstruct the game of play, then I think it’s ok… every single game of the season, if they wanted to. But if a team did this for every run of the game, then you’re approaching obnoxiousness.

  6. I just found out a few days ago that the Illini were warned about this behavior during the rain delay. We didn’t make it out to the continuation of the game, but Illinois did tone this down a bit. That may have been because they didn’t score any more runs or maybe because they were warned.

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