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Be a Good Sport - 051214

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. ~ James M. Barrie
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. ~ Oscar Wilde
Be a good sport ~ Sheldon Weitzen

It is not the leader, but you, the people that come to the group that make the group enjoyable.

Something my Dad taught me, was to always have a good attitude and contribute positively to any group. In his words, "be a good sport".

The leaders have their hands full with all the chores needed to organize an activity and make it run smoothly.

All the other stuff, supporting and participating in the activity, socializing, making people feel comfortable, and making the event enjoyable, is left to the people that are there.

My Dad taught me, it is my job, not the leaders job, to see that I am enjoying myself, and to help others to enjoy themselves.

What I wanted, and whether I liked, or agreed with how the leader ran things was not relevant. By the fact that I showed up, he felt I had taken on the responsibility of making that group and leader a success.

This applied to any gathering, from work, to organized sports, to weddings, and bar mitzvahs. If something needed doing, like welcoming newcomers, clearing tables or being the first in the food line, he expected me to jump up and do it. If I didn't, he soon saw that I did. Among my jobs at weddings was, be with the first to dance the hora, and to lift the bride and groom in chairs. These were not jobs I wanted, but my Dad would ask, who was I leaving them for?

How does this apply to our dance groups and other dance groups you participate in? Well here are some thoughts.

If any of you remember how hard Nissim worked at the workshop, you can remember him, not only teaching, playing music, and creating a fun atmosphere, but he was constantly cajoling people into getting up to dance. If you want to be a good sport, hopefully the leader will never have to ask you to get up and dance, but if he does, get up and dance.

Some people (not in our group) have the attitude that they paid their money and Nissim is there to entertain them. Don't have that attitude.

If you want to be a good sport, come with the attitude that you are Nissim's right-hand man, or woman, and you are going to support the activity as best you can. You do that, and you will be more than welcome wherever you go, people will be delighted to have you.

Some things you can do: be enthusisatic; participate as much as you are physically and mentally able; dance dances that might not be to your tastes, if you want others to dance the ones you like, you need to dance the ones they like; be courteous and polite and make everyone feel welcome.

Don't do anything negative or disruptive. Ignore those people that have a bad attitude or are being a distraction.

As far as your personal interaction with the leader goes, be helpful, be respectful, and don't be an interference. Judge everything in as most favorable terms as possible. The leader is dealing with a lot of things and is not out to get you just because something you wanted to happen did not happen. If the leader tells you something, take it as information, not as a criticism. The leader has only a moment to give you personal attention, what he tells you might be wrong, or it might be helpful. Just take it in and you decide. Don't be offended or defensive.

Remember, it is not other people's job to see that you are having a good time. You know better. It is your job to develop that good attitude in yourself and to infuse the other participants with your enthusiasm.

Thank you all for having such a good attitude, coming as often as you do, and participating so enthusiastically.

See Catie's nice note below. She addressed the note to me, but I credit all of you for showing her a nice time.

Subject: Thanks for a lovely evening!

Dear Andy,

I had such a great time at your Israeli folk dancing on Sunday evening! Thank you for doing so many dances that I know and love. I really appreciated your thoughtfulness. I'm sorry that I live so far away from Gainesville because I would like to be able to join your group every Sunday evening!

It was nice to meet you!

Happy Holidays!

All the best, Catie

By Andrew Weitzen 12/14/2005

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