Sports are not simply about games and playing within a team. This hobby or pastime, does not concern itself only with winning or losing. From sports, we learn values and principles which we can apply in our every day lives. It is true that sports does not only create friendships; it helps people build and improve their character. Hence, it is necessary to discuss how traits of human beings, especially leader skills can be improved through sports and how ethical principles of each person are exemplified through playing sports. This will be further developed in order to see the link of sportsmanship to the ultimate responsibility of each individual to the society.Sportsmanship is one such thing that players, coaches and even spectators are supposed to learn in the sphere of sports.
Sportsmanship is present and exemplified when one team shows respect and courtesy to the opposing team. “Sportsmanship isn’t just reserved for the people on the field. Cheerleaders, fans, and parents also need to be aware of how they behave during competition” (Sanders, 2005). It does not only cover playing fair, but rather it is the totality of respect and care that a player should show to a fellow player.
Sportsmanship is something that is being instilled in athletes, coaches and even to children who are just starting to learn how to play a particular sport. As correctly pointed out by Sanders in his article, through watching a specific game, a person will see how sportsmanship is being highlighted thus,Football players shaking hands after four quarters of knocking each other around. Tennis players leaping over the net to shake hands with their opponents after a hard-fought match. Soccer players exchanging jerseys after an intense 90 minutes. Even boxers touching gloves at the beginning of each round, then hugging each other after beating each other into a pulp for 12 rounds.
It seems like competitors in every event, from spelling bees to hockey, behave this way (2005).The smallest of gestures showing respect can be characterized as a form of sportsmanship. However, this concept is more substantial than this because learning good sportsmanship is not an easy task especially if we consider the fact that when one starts to enter a game, winning is almost always the primary objective in mind. When a player or a team enters the playing field, it is expected that they want to achieve and attain victory at the end of the game.Exemplifying fair play and Sportsmanship in playing sports are not simple concepts, but rather, they form direct connection to established ethical theories. The reason why sportsmanship is being highlighted is because it is linked to what is considered ethical and correct conduct, having as basis the established ethical theories.
The importance of ethical theories lies in the fact that the decisions we make and actions we take are explained by said ethical theories.There are reasons why people do the things that they do. However, the correctness of said actions is to be judged by the motives behind them. As explained, each theory “emphasize different aspects of an ethical dilemma and lead to the most ethically correct resolution according to the guidelines within the ethical theory itself. People usually base their individual choice of ethical theory upon their life experiences” (Rainbow, 2002).
The roots of our actions are thus being traced and the correctness of said actions is being determined. This is important because the things that we do affect other people as well. Hence, it is part of our responsibility as members of the society that whatever we do should be constructive and not destructive of the welfare of the other members of the community we live in.It is important to note that each one of us plays an important role in our society. We are not simple members of a community, but rather, it must be borne in mind, that every individual is imposed with different duties to perform.
The way we act should contribute to the development of the society that we live in. In addition to this, our own actions should also help in the growth of other people in the society. For this to materialize, one must do what is right and ethical, because to do otherwise is destructive and will not, in any way, contribute to the development of ourselves, other people and the community. The different ethical theories offer help in determining which acts are right and which are wrong. These theories are considered as guides in differentiating a constructive from a destructive course of action.For instance, based on the deontological theory, a person should do what his assigned duty or job entails. The motive or reason behind one’s actions can be justified if it is linked with the duty that he plays in the community. If one’s actions or deeds are in accordance with his duties, then his actions may be deemed as ethical conduct.
In sports, for instance, it is the duty of the coach to lead his team to victory, and thus, the things that he does to achieve this goal may be considered correct and ethical. However, it must be borne in mind that this rule is not absolute. Another ethical theory, utilitarianism, tells us that conduct may only be considered correct or ethical if its result can bring happiness to the greatest number of people concerned.
As stated by Rainbow, “to a utilitarian, the choice that yields the greatest benefit to the most people is the choice that is ethically correct” (2002). Thus, in the arena of sports, one’s duty must not only be the paramount consideration, but the feelings and welfare of other people involved must be considered. This is what sportsmanship is all about. Thus, in the case of a coach, although it is his duty to make the team win, he may do every act which may lead to winning, but bearing in mind that this should also contribute to the welfare of other people.Sportsmanship as a concept is easily and simply taught. The difficult part about teaching sportsmanship is how to apply it especially when the team is already losing. There is nothing wrong about feeling bad and tragic when one loses in a game especially after considering all the heart put into the game, and all the hours spent for practice and preparation.
However, it must be taken note of that sportsmanship must be exemplified at every part of the game—even during the point of losing. As Steve Sanders had further explained,It’s pretty tough to lose, so it definitely doesn’t help matters if someone continues taunting you or your team after the competition is over. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow your pride and walk on. But there’s always the next match. When you do lose – and it will happen – don’t take it out on your opponent, blame the officials, or blame your team. Take it in stride. When you lose, lose with class.
Being proud of how you performed, or at least being aware of things you need to improve for next time, is key. When it comes to losing, good sportsmanship means congratulating the winners promptly and willingly. Also, it means accepting the game’s outcome without complaint and without excuses, even if you sometimes might suspect the referees made some questionable calls (2005).
As mentioned earlier, sportsmanship includes showing respect to teammates, opponents, coaches, referees, and even spectators. Thus, despite the fact that the team lost, it should exercise sportsmanship by showing respect to the outcome of the game. It can be said that most of the times, sportsmanship is best shown and demonstrated after a team or player has lost a game. It is when the propriety of his actions can be best tested.There are even certain instances when acting in sportsmanlike manner would require the abandonment and disregard to the one’s claim to victory. There are certain situations that an athlete will face where the exercise of sportsmanship means forgetting the initial objective of winning the game. Kretchmar, citing Arnold, wrote in his book another model for sportsmanship.
As written by Kretchmar,Peter J. Arnold has developed a model of sportsmanship “as a form of altruistically motivated conduct that is concerned with the good or welfare of another”. He argues that there is more to sportsmanship than the mere observance of the rules of the game or the unwritten rules of fair play. The paradigm case of sportsmanship is the athlete who acts altruistically, even if this action diminishes her chance of victory, for instance the runner who stops to help a badly injured competitor (2005).The specific scenario mentioned by Kretchmar as an example is in line with the ethical theory of utilitarianism. In such a case, even if it is within the duty of the athlete to run his way to victory, he chose to stop and help his injured competitor. This is in accord with the principles of utilitarianism which states that ones must do that thing which brings happiness to the greater number of people.
Sportsmanship is shown this way because not only respect is demonstrated, but also the care of one athlete to the good and welfare of his fellow athlete.To demonstrate and exemplify fair play and sportsmanship in playing sports is important because sports should not be a strict competition between players and teams. The truth is, sports was designed in order to promote friendship and camaraderie among players. If sportsmanship is not clearly emphasized, playing sports would cause one to gain enemies rather than friends. The game could be a venue for rampant cheating, playing dirty and endless cussing and cursing. So also, if sportsmanship is not present, each game will not be treated with complete fairness as there would be cheating just so a team could win a certain game. If sportsmanship as an important concept in sports is taken out altogether, then sports will never develop.
;Young children of today are just starting to learn playing sports. Thus, it is important to note that at such an early age, the concept of sportsmanship must be imparted to them. How else can this important concept be related and passed on to young children if adults do not know how to practice sportsmanship? It is thus the duty of adults, especially parents, to demonstrate fair play and sportsmanship in playing, or even watching games of sports. This is part of the duty of parents to teach their kids how to behave accordingly.
Hence, the action of the parents must be in accordance with this duty.Teaching young children the value of sportsmanship can be done in a number of ways. Of supreme importance is the fact that parents should themselves act properly when playing or watching sports. So also, as stated by Sanders, parents can teach children about sportsmanship in this manner,Adults who emphasize good sportsmanship, however, see winning as just one of several goals they’d like their kids to achieve. They help young athletes take pride in their accomplishments and in their improving skills, so that the kids see themselves as winners, even if the scoreboard doesn’t show the numbers going in their favor.If at an early age, children already know what is wrong and correct behavior in dealing with his teammates, opponents, and the game itself, then such positive behavior and attitude can be brought by said children even in activities other than sports. Children would understand that playing the game is not simply about winning; that being the best in the game is not everything that matters.
The role of sports in society and to the growth of each individual must be emphasized and highlighted.The coach of a team is also duty-bound to show to his players the value of sportsmanship. It is obvious that in a team, all the players listen to the coach. Hence, it is the duty of the coach, not only to make the team win, but also to teach each player correct and ethical behavior within the playing field. As the leader of the team, his leadership entails steering his team towards the right actions and behavior.
By adopting a holistic approach that develops the whole person and not just the physical skills of sport, coaches have a unique opportunity to foster the positive psychological development of their athletes. Rather than only focus on the development of physical competence of the athlete, sport coaches could also encourage the learning and understanding of certain personal and social skills that are necessary for leadership (e.g., collaboration, or the ability to work well with others, proficient listening skills, empathy, effective confrontation techniques, etc.) (Magyar, 2006).There are times when the leader is not only the coach, especially in sports which involves teams. The team captain appointed by the coach can also be considered as a leader.
As they obtain esteem and respect from fellow teammates, the team captain must ensure to lead the team appropriately and accurately. Hence, his leadership entails that he himself must demonstrate how it is to be sportsmanlike in playing the game. He must abide by the rules of the game, and see to it that respect is shown to opponents and teammates all throughout the game. It might take time to learn all of this, that is admitted. This is due to the fact that when winning is at stake, it is sometimes difficult to remember what it is like to be fair and to be sportsmanlike.
However, sports is about discipline, and part of being disciplined is learning to behave properly despite the objective to win the game. This is still in line with the ethical theory that one must act, bearing in mind the good and welfare of other people.In addition to knowing the rightness or wrongness of a certain act or deed, the leader within a team must also possess leadership skills and abilities for him to be able to relate and show to his teammates what acceptable and proper conduct in sports is.
Knowledge of what sportsmanship is would be useless and futile if the leader in the group is unable to impart to his teammates the importance of this concept. As rationalized in an article, leadership skills consists of many different factors which can be used in a number of ways thus,Leadership skills are the skills and strategies that athletes may use in leadership situations, such as, solving performance-related problems, or resolving interpersonal conflicts among teammates. For example, cognitive skills may include a substantial knowledge of the sport, having confidence in one’s ability to lead others, or the ability to comprehend team goals and vision. Some example behavioral skills involve the demonstration of hard work and dedication in training and competition, ability to control one’s emotions, and display of respect toward others.
Affective skills may reflect an athlete’s ability to facilitate satisfaction among teammates or foster a sense of togetherness among the team (Magyar, 2006).The coach or team captain, for that matter, must be able to show to the other members of the team that he is disciplined when it comes to sports, and that he knows what the game is all about. This is not limited to the enormity of his skills, but rather his ability to recognize when winning matters, and when the same should be abandoned in the name of sportsmanship.It must be pointed out that thinking of winning, and wanting to win the game is not a bad thing. It is but normal for a team or a player to desire victory after a long preparation for an upcoming game.
The message that sportsmanship wants to relay is that playing sports is not simply about winning. There are other factors that should be learned and realized in sports. This is in accordance with the fact that sports was created not to be able to instill to people the importance and value of victory, but also of other positive traits and attributes that can be learned through playing sports. Sports teaching discipline, it builds character, and it fosters friendship and camaraderie among players.
As sports help in developing our characters as members of the society, each individual has to play his or her part by being responsible for passing on this message even to the younger generation.It is each individual’s responsibility to society that playing sports does not lose its identity as a tool for bringing people and even nations together; as a mechanism which instills constructive qualities to people. Part of being true to this responsibility is practicing fair play in each game and extending respect to opponents and to the game itself.
The good thing about the idea of fair play and sportsmanship is that it is not limited in application to the playing field. The said twin concepts are not solely applicable to games and sports, but also to everyday living.Learning good sportsmanship means finding that the positive attitude learned on the field carries over into other areas of life. At school, for example, you’re able to appreciate the contributions made by classmates and know how to work as part of a team to complete a project.
You may enjoy more success at work as well, because a big part of learning good sportsmanship is learning to be respectful of others, including customers and coworkers.It is how our responsibilities as individuals in the community are put into use. By learning what it is to be fair and respectful in a simple game of sports, we are able to continue using such right and ethical conduct even when it comes to dealing with other people in the aspects of life outside of sports.
In conclusion, sports is not simply about fun, games, and being in a team. Playing sports actually means something bigger than fun. Sports is, in all actuality, a venue of learning ethical principles and the value of fair play, sportsmanship and discipline. It is through sports that individuals are able to acquire positive traits, and enable them to use them in interacting with people in the community, and ultimately pass it on to younger generations. It must thus be realized that part of each individual’s responsibility is to preserve the attribute of sports as a means of building character and developing growth in each person. This can be done by ensuring that fair play and sportsmanship is practiced and demonstrated in every game one finds himself in.
Ultimately, it is not winning that defines a game, but rather it is how the game is played which defines, not only the game, but the character of the player, as well.;