Here at Better Business Bureau, we make a big deal about honesty and integrity in the marketplace—after all, they’re founding tenets of BBB and comprise one-quarter of the BBB Code of Business Practices. The concept of honesty, integrity and respect and the role they play in business is referred to as “ethics,” and the topic can be studied in universities around the world. And while I always thought that studying ethics was a little silly—I mean, how hard is it to be a good person?—the bottom line is that establishing an appropriate balance between being ethical and making a profit can be difficult.
But honesty, integrity and respect matter outside of business as well: A healthy romantic relationship requires all three; raising children requires all three—plus lots of patience; and, successfully teaching anything to anyone requires all three—with a splash of persistence, for example. And then there’s sports. In sports, doing the right thing is called “sportsmanship.”
Sportsmanship (noun): Fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition
Growing up in Northern Michigan, I never really had a football team worth caring about—sorry Lions, but zero Super Bowl appearances ever and a 0-16 record in 2008 doesn’t help your case—so when I moved to the Pacific Northwest this past Spring and watched my new city come together around the Seahawks, it was hard not to get swept up in the good vibes. But it also got me thinking…
I’ll never forget the lesson I learned from my middle school soccer coach during a particularly rough match; he said: “We have no control over the other team, but we can control our actions,” a message that should resonate with anyone who has ever played a competitive sport. But, sportsmanship isn’t just for players.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate diehard fanatics, but part of being a good fan means exhibiting good sportsmanship. With Seattle in the national spotlight, it’s up to all of us to make our community look good, no matter what happens at the Super Bowl. Because after all, exemplifying honesty, integrity and respect is important in every aspect of life.
I know that I’m relatively new to the area and an even newer Seahawks’ fan—you can call be a bandwagoner if you want—but I’m proud to call this home and proud to represent The 12th Man.