While it is fun to strut your stuff when you win, there is a line that you come to where the celebration can be excessive. The same comes on the flipside of that coin, if you lose the game, you can’t just sulk around and hide. Sore losers and sore winners can often tarnish what otherwise was a hard fought, excellent contest. This is an issue and needs to be addressed even before games so that players cannot claim they didn’t know they might have crossed some lines. It is easy to get caught up in the moment, but takes real class to know the true limits.

Sore winners can sully the victory if they take it over the line. While it is hard to properly measure what “over the line” truly means, there are some very easy ways to know. If it goes so far as to personally attack the performance of an opposing player just for fun, or even attack an opposing team as a whole, that is going way too far, and has to be dealt with immediately. Anything that is detrimental to another team, player, or anyone else is really crossing the line. Even if the person doing it thinks it’s funny, it is simply in poor taste.

Sore losers can be just as bad as sore winners. Sore losers will be the ones that blame everyone or everything but themselves for the loss. They won’t say that they were simply outplayed. They will claim that the referee wasn’t calling penalties properly or that the other team was playing dirty and cheating the whole time. There are many more extremes, but it all comes down to very similar things as sore winners. While it’s ok to point out some issues when you lose, it’s not ok to assign blame to people as you see fit in an attempt to make the loss someone other than the losing teams fault.

This doesn’t mean at all that the losing team has to fly the flag of the winning team, or has to shout their praises from high echoing mountain tops, it just means that post game they should line up, shake hands and be courteous. Nothing out of the ordinary, it’s not like it requires a whole lot of effort, and even if you are stung a little bit by a loss, your image as a player and a team goes up if you lose or win with dignity and respect.

Now sometimes people will accuse you of being a poor sport when it simply isn’t true. If you make a great defensive play, or sink a beautiful shot, a fist pump or a high five may be in order. This is definitely not poor sportsmanship, and is simply a part of the game. It is an accepted form of celebration that some folks might mistake as too excessive. Excessive celebration is when you start bringing in props and start taking more than a few seconds when doing it.

It all boils down to common sense, if you have to think twice about doing something in celebration or retaliation, it’s likely not worth it.

Picture credit: StuSeegerCreative Commons Attribution