Sportsmanship – Ethics and Integrity




Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is not only a physical activity but also a mental attitude. Participation in sports requiring physical stamina and mental concentration is indisputably sportsmanship. But sportsmanship is more importantly an attitude and a definite psychological response to situations. Of the two dimensions, the latter is in my opinion more crucial. The projection of the true spirit of sports into everyday life is true sportsmanship. The person who is proficient in games but who lacks this psychological dimension is a truncated version of a sportsman. Indeed, it can be doubted if he is a sportsman at all.

Sportsmanship implies a sense of fair play and obedience to accepted rules. A foul occurs when a person contravenes these rules and as consequences he or his team is penalised. This sense of fair play is translated into life as on in pulse of honesty, integrity and a feeling of consideration for other people.

Sportsmanship means a proper regard for and understanding of the concept of leadership. It is to be noted that leadership does not necessitate the team to lose their individuality or the leader to become authoritarian.

Akin to the understanding of leadership is the element of team spirit. Every member recognizes that his interest are bound up with that of the team and the individual attempts to achieve glory at another’s cost will not only result in failure but also shower infamy upon the person.

Sportsmanship means acceptance of failure in a spirit of cheerfulness. The team which loses does not display resentment towards the team that wins. In fact, the losers withdraw with a determination to win the battle next. This determination is expressed in greater effort and better development of mental and physical equipment. Similarly in life, if one were to be cowed by the challenges one faces, or despair at every failure, one will merely develop a gloomy attitude towards life and achieve nothing. Everest was not conquered on the very first expedition. Similarly aeroplanes did not develop as the consequence of a single attempt at flight. Sportsmanship recognizes the basic truth of that old saying – ‘failures are the stepping stones to success’.

While is it easy to recognise the indicators of sportsmanship, it is becoming tough to recognize its presence in the world of today. International sports events, have become an arena where nations fight with fierce determination for supremacy. Rules are broken with impunity. The only end is to win. Significantly enough, the sports arena reflects the ethos of cut throat competition and aggressive rat-race that marks modern life. Instead of sportsmanship influencing life for the good the degrading aspects of life are seeping into the world of sports. This situation is to be deplored.

If life were informed by a spirit of sportsmanship as all games should indeed be, the world would be a better place to live in. International fraternity and friendship would not then be an unfilled dream.

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