Sportsmanship

Juliana Hitchcock  |  Softball  |  Sophomore  |  Outfielder  |  Warrensburg, Mo.

Representing the NAIA Champions of Character core value of Sportsmanship for the 2014-15 school year is Juliana "Jules" Hitchcock. StephensStars.com caught up with Jules to discuss the meaning of sportsmanship:

StephensStars.com - What does it mean to display sportsmanship on the softball team at Stephens College?
Hitchcock: For me it means to maintain a positive outlook while playing a game, whether winning or losing. If I can maintain a positive attitude, hopefully it will have a contagious effect on my teammates and keep the purpose of the game in perspective: to come together in a friendly environment and a have fun but competitive rivalry between two teams. An example when my positive attitude did permeate the team was when we were playing Central Methodist on a cold evening. We were losing horribly and to keep the team’s sprit up two teammates and I began shouting cheers. Within minutes the entire team had joined in and the cold had been chased away. While we were losing, nobody could tell because our team spirit was so optimistic.

StephensStars.com - How does the sportsmanship that you have learned and displayed on the field, translate to your personal and academic life?
Hitchcock: The aspects of good sportsmanship that translate to my academic life are knowing and following the rules of the sport, respecting officials, accepting their decisions, and knowing that participation is a privilege, not a right. Every class I have taken has always outlined the consequences for academic dishonesty. Just as in softball, when someone disobeys the rules in a class, you shorthand yourself and won’t be able to see your full ability of what you are capable of. Just like the umpires have the final say in a call, the teacher of a class has the final say in what grade a project deserves. By respecting these officials, whether on or off the field, I am respecting their position over me, their experience that most likely is more than mine, and I am setting a good example for my peers. Finally, just like being on the softball team is a privilege, not a right, going to college is as well. Like many people going to college, I am at Stephens on scholarships. Had I not earned these scholarships I would not be able to go to such a nice college as Stephens. I recognize how easily my actions can change all of this, just like how my actions, or lack of, can easily change my position on the team.

StephensStars.com - Describe a specific situation when you’ve used respect around your teammates, coaches and opponents, and in doing so, represented Stephens College and the softball team in a positive manner…
Hitchcock - I remember when we were traveling during Spring Break and were in Kentucky. During our only game there, a storm blew up and we had to scramble to cover the field with a giant tarp. Our team, not accustomed to handling a tarp, was floundering a bit. The opposing team, knowing what to do, were giving us orders and sometimes getting on to us when we messed up. Personally, being told what to do by my peers, on my team or the opposite team, makes me bristle slightly. However, I realized that coming back with a snappy comment was not the way to go as I truly didn’t know how to handle the tarp. In addition, getting frustrated with my team members when they didn’t know what to do wouldn’t help the situation as they didn’t know what to do either. Instead, I chose to treat both the opposite team and my teammates with respect. By treating everyone with respect, I didn’t add tension to an already stressful situation. In addition, when the rain stopped we were able to laugh about it later.

StephensStars.com - How will acting with sportsmanship set the groundwork for a successful career and life after your time at Stephens College?
Hitchcock - There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Training myself early to act with sportsmanship will make it second nature to me. In turn, future employers will find me more attractive as an employee as I won’t bog down the company with negativity, but will treat my employers with respect, be a model for co-workers as well as a good representative for the company. If it turns out that I am in a position of leadership, self-control and treating my opponents with respect are both characteristics that can lead to a successful career. These characteristics can also be applied to a fulfilling and successful personal life.

StephensStars.com: Who is one person that you look up to in regards to sportsmanship?
Hitchcock - I would have to say my dad. He is all for a friendly rivalry and competing for bragging rights. However, he will always play fairly, take responsibility for what he has done, and look out for his teammates. Not only is this his attitude on the court (volleyball was his sport), this is his attitude towards his work and family life as well.

StephensStars.com - What quote best describes the NAIA core value of respect?
Hitchcock - “For when the one great scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes - not that you won or lost - but how you played the game” - Sportswriter Grantland Rice