Letters to the Editor

True sportsmanship more than winning

As a former high school baseball coach, I was dismayed to read stories in the Packet concerning rules infractions incurred by local athletic teams.

Not long ago, I came across a story that appeared in our local newspaper 40 years ago when my team was selected to win a sportsmanship award. The values expressed in that story are as relevant today as they were then.

The story stated the philosophy of the baseball coach at Carey High School for the past 15 years had been to help build character and respect for authority through baseball. There was never a need for a player to argue with an umpire. Any discussion with the umpire was the responsibility of the coach.

"You play to win, but if winning is your first and only aim, you stand a good chance of losing. The goal, it seems to me, is to be as good as you can be. If this makes you No. 1, fine. If not, you haven't lost anything, and you have gained a lot. Enthusiasm is what counts the most. Enjoy the game; do your best. Then you have a good chance of winning. But if you have done your best, you can better handle losing because you will have no guilty feeling about why you lost. You did your best."

Apparently, this philosophy works because besides winning the sportsmanship award five times in 15 years, Carey had one of the best baseball records in Nassau County, N.Y.

John Baumann

Hilton Head Island