Garzon '20 Wins MIAA Sportsmanship Essay Contest

Garzon '20 Wins MIAA Sportsmanship Essay Contest

Fontbonne is proud to announce Clarissa Garzon ‘20 has been named the 2019 winner of the Annual MIAA Student Sportsmanship Essay Contest.  Garzon’s essay earned First Place among all those submitted from her peers at fellow MIAA schools. She was awarded $400 and presented her essay at the annual MIAA Sportsmanship Summit at Gillette Stadium. Garzon’s essay will also be published in a compilation entitled “Sportsmanship: A Game Plan for Life, Volume XIX.”

Students were asked to “describe how sportsmanship inspires leadership in you, your team, and your school community.” The MIAA wrote to Fontbonne saying "the committee was thoroughly impressed" with Clarissa's essay.

We would like to share Clarissa’s winning work with you.   All of us can benefit from her inspirational message.

“The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines sportsmanship as conduct (such as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport. I believe that it boils down to one word: respect. Sportsmanship is how one acts, not just how they carry themselves, but how they respect others. By playing with sportsmanship, you not only perform at your best, but you display leadership through your example. I have learned this in my play and now as a leader. Sportsmanship gives you the ability to act selflessly and this translates into your performance, and also into your interactions with others in the hallways, in the classroom, and in your community. 

For the longest time, I equated athletics with competition. At a young age, I remember wanting to play well and win; those were my two sole goals. However, through experience, I realized that athletics was not just about competition, but it was about the community and solidarity that is formed between you, your teammates, your coaches, and everyone involved in the sport. When I realized this, I prided myself on being the player with the best attitude and conduct. I respected the refs and my opponents, even when I disagreed with them. I firmly believe that my ability to display sportsmanship has allowed me to become a leader because it truly inspired me to want to become one. I wanted everyone to realize the importance of fairness and respect. 

Once I realized this, I intentionally, and in some ways unintentionally, began to promote it in my team and even my school community. And, I was encouraged when I saw that my teammates, in turn, began to value sportsmanship just as much as I did. Players that once were upset by referee’s calls were now the ones that calmed down another player. Players that once let themselves fell into tensions with opposing players were the ones that helped opponents up. They became leaders because they did what was not easy and inspired others to do the same. This leadership not only translated into their actions on the court, but into our school community as well. I noticed these same players helping a freshman adjust to high school or help someone talk to a teacher respectfully. Our team culture has always been based around hard work and, more importantly, respect. This fundamental value is what truly represents sportsmanship. I and my teammates play with respect, and this not only inspires us to be leaders on the court but in our communities as well. We want to be the students that act respectfully in the classroom. Our actions reflect our values, and these values hopefully motivate our community to act the same way.

 Sportsmanship is defined by respect. It not only inspires me to be a leader, but it inspires my teammates and my community to live with that value, and that is what sportsmanship is really about: acting with respect and inspiring others to do the same.” -Clarissa Garzon