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The adage that “competitive sport builds character” should be rewritten to state that “competitive sports reveal character.” Too frequently the character revealed by winners and losers demonstrates a lack of respect for the game. Sportsmanship is fast becoming a vanishing commodity. Half the competitors in any game generally end up on the losing side and both the winning and losing teams consists of athletes that started the game, substitutes, benchwarmers and athletes that tried out but failed to make the squad. Our lives are filled with competitions and our reactions to our successes and failures reveal a lot about our character.
Children are often first faced with the reality that their opportunities are limited when they compete for team membership, parts in a play, positions in a choir or band, roles in the student government or even the opportunity to be asked to a party or dance. Not making the team, not getting the part, not being invited and even sitting on the bench are often...