Good Sportsmanship

(originally written by Jay Lehman to the CFA Premiership List and used here with his express permission)

1. Learn and abide by the spirit and words of the show rules and the registry. 

2. Avoid arguments with clerks, judges, breed council secretaries, other breeders and your fellow exhibitors. Cultivate a thick skin, as others may misunderstand you and may unintentionally say or do unkind things that will hurt. Be the bigger person and don’t carry grudges, if at all possible. 

3. Share in the responsibilities of the show. Many willing hands make the show less work and more pleasant for everyone. 

4. Encourage and support fellow exhibitors. Be sincerely happy for other breeders’ and/or exhibitors’ successes. 

5. Always exhibit and breed fairly, with absolute honesty and integrity in every thing you do or say, no matter what others may do or have done “to” you. 

6. Follow the directions of the clerk and respect the judges and show officials always. 

7. Respect and praise other exhibitors’ efforts and cats (there is always some thing nice to say about another’s cat or grooming efforts). 

8. Return good for unkindness, cheerfulness in the face of adversity, and act with honesty and integrity in everything you do or say. It will not go unnoticed by the good people, and may turn opinions in your favor over time. 

9. End each ring and the show smoothly, and accept the results graciously, especially if it did not go the way you had hoped. 

10. Think before you speak (or type). Apologize sincerely if you have acted unkindly to any person. Likewise, be open to favorably reconsider your opinion of others and to forgive their unkindness to you if they sincerely apologize to you and treat you with respect thereafter. Everyone messes up sometimes in life, so allow others to pick up the pieces and go on to being a better breeder, exhibitor and person in the future. 

11. Be a good ambassador for your breed and your registry at all times. Take the time and patience to answer questions from visitors and other exhibitors. 

12. Be a good mentor to others always. Help and enable others to fulfill their dreams and inspire them to reach their highest peak of personal integrity and success. 

13. Notice enough to offer friendship and help to new faces at shows when needed. Just having someone to help them through a difficult day when the grooming isn’t all it could 
be, or when the expensive cat that they bought turns out to be less than the promised show quality cat, could make all the difference in retaining a promising new exhibitor. New exhibitors CAN be taught better grooming and can be guided to find a better cat to show, when gentle and sympathetic assistance is sincerely offered. 

14. Remember always that your breed is judged by your actions as the breed’s representative at every show or with every contact you receive from the public and other exhibitors, so behave appropriately and as graciously as you can at all times.

In general: 
Good sportsmanship involves respect for fellow exhibitors and breeders. 
A good sportsman never blames or criticizes another for mistakes or poor performance.
A good sportsman never taunts or teases competition by gloating. 
A good sportsman always fully follows the rules in spirit and in written words, and always congratulates others after a ring or show. 
Good sportsmanship means respect for each other, the clerks, the judges, and spectators. A good sportsman never argues with the judgment, calls, or decisions of a judge or show committee. 
A good sportsman is gracious in victory or defeat. 
Good sportsmanship is observed both in and out of the show hall. 
Good sportsmanship means being sensitive to others and aware of how good or bad they are doing. 
A good sportsman is in this sport for the love and improvement of their breed first, and not just the wins. Remember to let your breed win, not just your cat.

Having fun in the showhall – some Do’s and Don’ts: 
DO enjoy the beauty and grace of the cats that the breeders and owners have on exhibit. 
DON’T knock that person’s cat – even if it isn’t your taste (let the judges sort it out). 
DO enjoy each other’s company and have a good time. 
DON’T spread unkind rumors or mean gossip about each other (or their cats) – even, or especially, if you don’t like them. 
DO give good advice and mentor those who ask for or need your help. 
DON’T hold back advice for fear of losing to their cat. 
DO exhibit your cat in the best possible condition you can. 
DON’T be afraid to ask other’s thoughts to help you do this. 
DO cheer for all the cats which make a final. 
DON’T jeer the cats that beat yours or their owners. 
DO seek out the fun and friendship of each other at the shows. 
DON’T let the competition ruin that fun and friendship, EVER.

In the end – remember that next year, most will not remember last year’s winners, and those that showed last year aren’t even following this year’s cats. The friends you make on your wonderful journey with your beloved cat(s) are what truly matter most – not any transitory awards we may or may not receive at the end of a show season.