I don’t know whether it’s happened before, but for the Chicago Blackhawks, winner of the Hockey Stanley Cup, to take out an ad in the Boston Globe to thank their losing opponents, the Bruins, along with the Boston fans and the city itself for their welcome and sportsmanship, was certainly unusual.
In a sport where the joke is that it’s a fight and occasionally a game breaks out, this example of classy behavior is frankly rather inspiring. Yes, it is self serving, particularly after the strike and loss of the early part of the season, but it’s a great reminder that professional sports are entertainment and enormously influential on the culture of our society. Winning comes from skill, discipline, teamwork (and a little bit of luck), but sportsmanship builds the fan base and close games fill the stadiums and TV.
More importantly, and the Kingbridge Insight for today is that sportsmanship sends a message to the fans and community at large that respect for your opponent and collaboration in behavior and rules is what makes our society work.