This past Sunday, January 19th, there were 2 big NFL games…the AFC Championship and the NFC Championship. As a football fan, I watched both of these games. I wanted to see 2 good games between 4 great teams, I wanted to see who would be going to the Super Bowl this year, and because I am a Bronco fan and my team was playing in the AFC Championship, I wanted to root for my team.

Both games were entertaining to watch…especially the AFC Championship because my team ended up winning. But, while I was able to celebrate a win for my team, that was not the big take away from the games for me. My big take away from the 2 games yesterday was the huge contrast I saw between 2 players.

Tom Brady, QB for the Patriots who lost to the Broncos, was graciously willing to talk with a reporter immediately after the game that his team had just lost. I listened to the interview, in which he was calm, stated his thoughts about how his team played, and acknowledged how the other team had played well. He didn’t blame any of his teammates or call out any players from the other team…he displayed a good attitude and great sportsmanship in that interview, despite just losing a big game.

Several hours later, after the second game had ended, a reporter went to interview Richard Sherman from the Seahawks. His team had just defeated the 49ers, and Sherman had made a big play at the end of the game to seal the win for his team. When the reporter asked him about the play he made, he began yelling into the microphone that he was the greatest cornerback and no one should disrespect him. When asked who disrespected him, he yelled out a players name from the other team. He made his interview all about himself…he displayed a terrible attitude and even worse sportsmanship in that interview, even after just winning a game.

Brady showed class in a loss, Sherman showed absolutely no class in a win. Brady never made anything about himself, Sherman made it all about himself. Brady talked well about the opposing team, Sherman simply yelled at one of the players on the opposing team.

Tom Brady, even though his team lost, displayed excellent sportsmanship. Richard Sherman, even though his team won, displayed the exact opposite. (btw-this blog is in no way a pro-Brady or anti-Sherman blog, I am simply comparing what I saw/heard in their interviews)

As a parent of young children, I want them to display good sportsmanship, whether they win or lose. Good sportsmanship is much more important than winning.

As my children grow up, there are a few things that I want to make sure I teach and instill in them when it comes to having the proper attitude and good sportsmanship…whether they are playing a game or just living life.

1. It’s not about whether you win or lose, but rather how you react. In this life, you will win and you will lose. Whether you are playing a game or not, there are times when things go your way and times when things don’t. And your reaction to the good and the bad is extremely important.
2. You should always strive to display good sportsmanship, no matter the outcome. Displaying good sportsmanship and a good attitude should not depend on if you win or lose, but it should be how you choose to act despite what happens. You need to be a good sport if you win and if you lose.
3. Humility is a much better quality than pride. Pride can be a very ugly characteristic. It is good to take pride in your hard work, but don’t be so prideful as to think you are better than everyone else. Conduct yourself with humility…it is a much more attractive quality than pride is.
4. Don’t seek to draw the attention to yourself, just do your best and be a good team player. No matter what team you are on in life…sports, work, etc…remember to be a team player. Acknowledge others on your team, don’t just seek attention for yourself.
5. Remember that this life does not revolve around you. One of the best things I can ever teach you is that it’s not all about you. Don’t think it is, because that will lead you to make bad decisions and you will lose a lot of friends. It is not all about you, so don’t make it all about you.

Ultimately, just make sure you do the best you can at whatever you do, and try to always have a good attitude.