Sportsmanship is a term used frequently during awards presentations, but it doesn’t seem to be given much consideration throughout much of the rest of the hockey season.
However, one young man from O’Leary area presented an excellent example of sportsmanship during the recent Tier 1 Midget A Male Hockey Championship held at the Eastern Kings Sportsplex in Souris.
It may have been a minor gesture, but it had a major impact. His actions prompted a couple of parents from the opposing team to write a letter to this newspaper praising the conduct of the O’Leary team’s goaltender Ryan DesRoche after his team lost to Montague in one of the crossover games. The letter writer said his actions were still the talk of Kings County, even several days after the championship.
The parent wrote this about Ryan: “This young goalie did everything but stand on his head and let one slide by him to lose 3-2.
“When finishing, he didn't get upset, but he comes right out and cheered the players from the other team.
“He left so many emotions in the stands.”
Apparently this young DesRoche played exceptionally well, so he wanted to win as badly as the other players. However, after all was said and done, he realized that he had given it his best effort but the puck didn’t bounce his way and his team lost.
So he congratulated the winners and accepted that the other team won, this time. Even if he was angry and frustrated inside, he certainly didn’t exhibit any of those feelings. Instead he demonstrated a level of maturity and self-control way beyond his years.
He also taught a valuable lessen to anyone else who might have been paying attention, whether they were on the ice with him or in the stands.
This is what all sports should be about – playing your best, enjoying the camaraderie, recognizing others who perform well, and most of all, remembering that it is just a game.
As that letter-writing parent so eloquently stated, “Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose. Behind the masks are kids who we spend a great deal of time teaching how to win and not near enough time teaching how to lose graciously.”
She’s absolutely right. More emphasis should be placed on teaching young players of any sport, the art of losing graciously.
Unfortunately, through the actions of some of the adults who are put in charge of coaching and training our children, or some of the parents and fans in the stands, our young players are being taught the complete opposite.
So the sportsmanlike trophy of the year for P.E.I. should go to that young goalie from the O’Leary Maroons midget A hockey team for being a exemplary hockey player and teenager.