Today's question is simple. Who are better sports: boys or girls?
According to a new study by the Character Counts Coalition, the answer is girls. And it's not even close.
More than 4,200 high school athletes were asked to fill out a questionnaire with a bunch of questions on cheating and questionable sports behavior. Here are some of the things that the study found out:
* More than half (51 percent) of the boys thought it was okay for the coach to argue with an official to get the referee to change his calls later. Only 30 percent of the girls said that this kind of intimidation was okay.
* Nearly half (47 percent) of the boys thought that trash-talking was all right. Only 19 percent of the girls thought that making fun of your opponent was acceptable.
* Thirty percent of the boys thought it was okay to throw at a batter who had hit a home run the last time up. Ouch! Only 16 percent of the girls said that kind of payback was fair.
It's not that girls are more honest than boys in other parts of their life. Most boys and girls (72 percent for each) admitted that they had cheated on a school test in the last year. But on question after question in the study, boys were more willing to bend or even break the rules to win at sports.
Why are boys worse sports than girls?
Maybe girls don't care as much about sports as the boys. But I don't buy that. I watch lots of games and it seems the girls want to win just as much as the boys do. And remember, all the people in the study were high school athletes. These kids definitely care about sports.
I think one difference is that the best female athletes set a much better example for girls than the best male athletes set for boys. I can think of plenty of bad sports in men's games:
* College coach Bob Knight throwing chairs onto the basketball court.
* NFL star Terrell Owens signing balls after touchdowns.
* NBA players (too many to count) trash-talking and chest-thumping.
* Tennis legends such as John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors screaming at officials.
I can't think of one female athlete whom I would consider a bad sport. The U.S. women's soccer team? No way. They play with passion, but they never show up the other team. Same deal with WNBA players and women's tennis: good sports all around. And that sends a message -- a good one.
For years in sports, girls have been trying to be more like the boys. But when it comes to sportsmanship, maybe the boys should try to be more like the girls.