A Lesson in Sportsmanship


As many of you may had noticed, today’s Monday post is a bit late. Thankfully, the reason has something to do with today’s article.

Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a Major League Baseball game. It was our first trip to such a large event. The home team, who has been struggling for most of their season, was playing a much better team. They played a great game and stayed close throughout.

In a key play late in the game, a home team player hit a shallow fly ball to right field. The right fielder ran full blast into the sunlight to catch the ball. That’s just when my daughter yelled at the top of her lungs.

This wasn’t just a yell of protest of what could had been an easy out. This was just one of those “I just found a severed head in my seat” screams. This was one girl’s effort to effect the play on the field. To her pleasure and the questionable looks from the fans around us, the outfielder was unable to make the catch, adding to the home team’s run total.

She would like all of us to believe, her scream had some effect on a professional baseball player’s concentration as the ball flew over his head and rolled safely into the grass. To be honest, the player most likely didn’t even hear her and the ball’s path was blocked by the sun and he lost vision of it, but that’s really not the point of this article.

Originally, I found her attempted assault on the player’s concentration cute and funny. Hours later I question, where is the line drawn of sportsmanship?

These professional players are dead to all but the most imaginative forms of breaking of concentration and I assure you, there isn’t much a school age girl can say to them to get them on tilt. Professional Players even welcome some heckling from the crowd from time to time.

We all have seen various degrees of psyching out, trash talking, intimidation, grandstanding and all around poor sportsmanship at sporting events as well as Magic: The Gathering events. I’ve been on both sides of this coin. Some banter between opponents can be healthy and enjoyable but at what point does it become unsportsmanlike?

In Magic, the line in the sand is blurry and depends on the state of both opponents. Some players are more intimidated and sensitive than others. It also depends on what the stakes are. In more competitive environments, less unsportsmanlike behavior is tolerated compared to a match between casual playing friends.

When playing Magic in a competitive environments, being professional is key. Play each opponent like it was your first time. Offer a hello before each match and a friendly comment about the game afterwords…

..and for god’s sake, don’t scream bloody murder at them to break their concentration.

Swing Last,


If you enjoyed this commentary and have something to add, you can contact Aiokii in the comments below, Twitter or Facebook. Aiokii can also be found on MTGO, hit him up for a game sometime. Also, take the time to check out Reddit Budgetdecks for cheap discussion and deck ideas.

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