Award merits high shelf in a school trophy case

Ours is a culture that sets a far higher premium on championship than on sportsmanship — and that’s a metaphor that reaches well beyond the realm of sports.

Maybe it’s always been that way. We care more about results than about how they’re achieved, the ends justify the means, and so on and so forth.

Still, in an age when end-zone posing and chest pounding and bat flipping are celebrated by ESPN talking heads as essential to the “fun” of sports, and critics of such conduct sneeringly derided as grumpy killjoys, it sometimes seems the most fundamental principles of sports decorum have been not just forgotten, but deliberately jettisoned.

Against that cultural backdrop, there’s something comforting, even inspiring, in the fact that three Columbus high schools, and 48 in the Georgia High School Association, have been honored for, of all things, sportsmanship.

As sports editor Kevin Price reported this past week, the Georgia Electric Membership Cooperative has sponsored the GEMC Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Awards since 2006. This year Carver, Jordan and Pacelli were among the winners.

“Winners” is exactly the right word in this context, regardless of win-loss records.

“Good sporting behavior is critical to the development of all young people,” GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips wrote in an online news release. “It is a cornerstone for productive adult citizens and fans.”

As demonstrated by (among far too many other examples) a recent embarrassing incident up the road in Lanett, some of our “adult citizens” should have learned that lesson years ago.