October 5th of this year marked the day that the two UFC fighters, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor met in the Octagon. Emotions were high and there was a championship riding on the line as McGregor was the favorite to take the belt away from Khabib. The emotions of the fight carried on outside of the octagon, leading Khabib to jump out of the octagon and attack Mcgregor’s coaches. Khabib’s teammates proceeded to jump into the cage and jump Mcgregor. There are many sides to the events following the fight and many different opinions about the character or the fighters and the actions in which took place.
”It’s unfortunate that now the focus of that fight is the brawl that happened afterward not the actual athletic contest,” said Upper School Math Teacher and Assistant Basketball Coach Mr. Morrissey.
Senior Football Captain Gio Biggers believes Khabib’s actions were justified, “You could say that what he did was a little over the top, but I believe it was warranted,” said Biggers.
No matter what side of the issue you fall on about the fight, the question of sportsmanship comes into play. The Boys’ Latin Athletics Department places a high standard on sportsmanship. At any BL sporting event, there is sign posted that says, “Let them PLAY. Let them HAVE FUN. Let them FAIL. Let them LEARN. Let them SUCCEED. Let the players play, coaches coach, and referees officiate.” Boys’ Latin Athletic Director and JV Soccer Coach Mr. Thomas preaches good sportsmanship to the students and athletes every day.
“I think …from the moment you’re on campus to the moment you leave, our coaches and teachers ask that you all are always men of character and gentlemen and act with reasonableness,” said Thomas. “It’s systemic here that all these teachers here, even though they all don’t coach, they are trying to get you to be the kindest people that you could be.”
BL students are expected to embody the school motto everyday in everything they do, both on and off the field. “If you think about it it’s Esse Quam Videri. That’s what this is about. It’s not about athletics its just the classroom in the afternoon.” Stated Thomas.
It’s not only coaches that care about sportsmanship. Players value it as well. Sophomore Tommy Ozonoff feel as if he practices his sportsmanship every day. “BL has good sportsmanship, especially upperclassmen and coaches. [They] make sure its a priority to not being cocky or arrogant,” said Ozonoff, who plays both hockey and lacrosse. “If I am talking [trash] and one of the upperclassmen tells me to stop, I’ll stop and just follow what they say.”
Some feel as if our sportsmanship is already where it needs to be be, but others believe that we could work on our sportsmanship.
“I think that sportsmanship is always implicitly encouraged, but I’m not sure how much work we do to encourage sportsmanship. I think that’s an area we could improve in,” stated Morrissey. “I think having good leadership both on the teams and in the student sections is important and I think it’s important to talk to those leaders about A. the importance of sportsmanship and B. how to actually be a good sport.”
Bigger’s agrees with Mr. Morrissey view on improving sportsmanship at BL.
“Coaches should really instill it into us more and give the kids a higher standard of how they should act when they are on the field,” said Biggers.
Biggers even opened up about a time when his sportsmanship lacked. The other team was saying, “UNC who?” and Biggers, a UNC commit, lost it and yelled back at the players. “You should only talk to your teammates because the main goal ahead is a W,” said Biggers, “you should not talk to the other team because they are not going to help you win.”
Although its is doubtful that anything as extreme as what happened after the McGregor-Khabib fight would happen, sportsmanship is still something BL really cares about and values.
“I don’t think one of the athletic events would ever devolve into somebody jumping onto the field and fighting everybody on the other team, but how do we make sure we are being good sports and practicing what we preach in terms of being a school that cares about having good character?” said Morrissey.