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The World Cup may be over, but the significance of the competition goes far beyond the final goal.
Whether you call it football or soccer, the World Cup is more than just a fight for the sport's ultimate title—it's proof-positive that good sportsmanship matters.
Even in the face of tremendous pressure to win, highly competitive teams from all corners of the globe can come together to compete and still be good sports.
Conversely, in the absence of bad sportsmanship, all of the attention given the games can stay where it matters, on the players' skills and the emotional highs and lows of a well-played game that must, in the end, have only one winner.
A few modern guidelines to keep the sportsmanship in your game:
When taunts rain down on the referee of a kids' game, a mother stalks onto the field to protest a move by the coach, or two fathers come to blows over perceived slights in a match, it puts a damper on the game for the rest of the spectators, the kids and the refs.
Whether it's your child's school league or the World Cup, point out the positive role models: The good sports who follow the rules and win or lose graciously.
This article was originally distributed by Reuters.