Sportsmanship

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Shaking hands after the match is considered a symbol of good sportsmanship. Tennis shake hands after match.jpg
Shaking hands after the match is considered a symbol of good sportsmanship.
These two teams of young soccer (football) players line up and high-five after a game to learn about good sportsmanship USMC-110507-M-GR773-089.jpg
These two teams of young soccer (football) players line up and high-five after a game to learn about good sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors. A "sore loser" refers to one who does not take defeat well, whereas a "good sport" means being a "good winner" as well as being a "good loser" [1] [2] (someone who shows courtesy towards another in a sports game).

Sport forms of competitive activity, usually physical

Sport includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.

Ethics branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.

Respect feeling of regard for someone or something

Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important, or held in high esteem or regard; it conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities; and it is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.

Contents

Analysis

Sportsmanship can be conceptualized as an enduring and relatively stable characteristic or disposition such that individuals differ in the way they are generally expected to behave in sports situations. Sportsmanship mainly refers to virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage, and persistence, [3] and has been associated with interpersonal concepts of treating others and being treated fairly, maintaining self-control if dealing with others, and respect for both authority and opponents. Sportsmanship is also looked at as being the way one reacts to a sport/game/player.

The four elements of sportsmanship are often shown being good form, the will to win, equity and fairness. All four elements are critical and a balance must be found among all four for true sportsmanship to be illustrated. [4] These elements may also cause conflict, as a person may desire to win more than play in equity and fairness and thus resulting in a clash within the aspects of sportsmanship. This will cause problems as the person believes they are being a good sportsman, but they are defeating the purpose of this idea as they are ignoring two key components of being sportsman like. When athletes become too self-centred, the idea of sportsmanship is dismissed. [5]

Today's sporting culture, in particular the base of elite sport, places great importance on the idea of competition and winning and thus sportsmanship takes a back seat as a result. [5] In most, if not all sports, sportsmen at the elite level make the standards on sportsmanship and no matter whether they like it or not, they are seen as leaders and role models in society. [6]

Since every sport is rule driven, the most common offence of bad sportsmanship is the act of cheating or breaking the rules to gain an unfair advantage this is called unsportsmanlike conduct. [7] A competitor who exhibits poor sportsmanship after losing a game or contest is often called a "sore loser", while a competitor who exhibits poor sportsmanship after winning is typically called a "bad winner". Sore loser behavior includes blaming others for the loss, not accepting responsibility for personal actions that contributed to the defeat, reacting to the loss in an immature or improper fashion, making excuses for the defeat, and citing unfavorable conditions or other petty issues as reasons for the defeat. [8] [9] A bad winner acts in a shallow fashion after his or her victory, such as by gloating about his or her win, rubbing the win in the face(s) of the opponent(s), and lowering the opponent(s)'s self-esteem by constantly reminding the opponent(s) of "poor" performance in comparison (even if the opponent(s) competed well). Not showing respect to the other team is considered to being a bad sportsman and could lead to demoralising effects; as Leslie Howe describes: "If a pitcher in baseball decides to pitch not to his maximum ability suggest that the batter is not at an adequate level, [it] could lead to the batter to have low self-confidence or worth." [10]

Unsportsmanlike conduct is a foul or offense in many sports that violates the sport's generally accepted rules of sportsmanship and participant conduct. Examples include verbal abuse or taunting of an opponent, an excessive celebration following a scoring play, or feigning injury. The official rules of many sports include a catch-all provision whereby participants or an entire team may be penalized or otherwise sanctioned for unsportsmanlike conduct.

In psychology and logic, rationalization or rationalisation is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable—or even admirable and superior—by plausible means. It is also an informal fallacy of reasoning.

Self-esteem reflects an individual's overall subjective emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is the decision made by an individual as an attitude towards the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself,, as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame. Smith and Mackie (2007) defined it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it."

There are six different categories relating to sportsmanship: the elements of sports, the elements of sportsmanship, clarifications, conflicts, balance and irreducibility. [4] All six of these characterize a person with good sportsmanship. Even though there is some affinity between some of the categories, they are distinct elements. [4] "In essence, play has for its directed and immediate end joy, pleasure, and delights and which is dominated by a spirit of moderation and generosity. Athletics, on the other hand, is essentially a competitive activity, which has for its end victory in the contest and which is characterized of dedication, sacrifice and intensity." (Feelezz, 1896, pp. 3) Hence, the virtues of a player are radically different from the virtues of an athlete. (Feelezz, 1896, pp. 3). When talking about misunderstanding sportsmanship, Rudd and Stoll (2013) provide an example from 1995, a U.S. high school athletic league banned the post-game handshake that was a part of sports such as football and basketball. The handshaking was banned because of fights that were ensuing after the handshake.(pp. 41) Most players are influenced by the leaders around them such as coaches and older players, if there are coaches and administrators who don't understand sportsmanship, then what about the players? [11]

Examples

A moment of sportmanship when John Landy helped Ron Clarke get up after he had fallen. Sportmanship sculpture.jpg
A moment of sportmanship when John Landy helped Ron Clarke get up after he had fallen.

There are various ways that sportsmanship is practiced in different sports. Being a good sport often includes treating others as you would also like to be treated, cheer for good plays (even if it is made by the opposition), accept responsibility for your mistakes, and keep your perspective. [12] An example of treating others how you would like to be treated would include being respectful and polite to other team members and the opposition because in return you would also like to be treated the same way. [6] Cheer for good plays could include if in netball a player of the opposition made a good lead for the ball, which then resulted in a goal, everyone would either clap or make a supportive comment to acknowledge that what the player did was very well done. To accept responsibility for your mistakes will entail not placing the blame on other people. [7]

Some popular examples of good sportsmanship include shaking hands, help an opponent who may have fallen over, encourage everyone, cheer, clap or hi-five, and be respectful to everyone including teammates, the opposition, parents and officials. [13] Most importantly it is often encouraged and said regarding sportsmanship that "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." [7]

Sportsmanship can be manifested in different ways depending on the game itself or the culture of the group. [14]

Contributing factors

Sportsmanship can be affected by a few contributing factors such as the players' values and attitudes towards the sport and also the professional role models that are shown to the public. Role models in sport are expected to act in a moral and respectful way. [15] When elite sporting role models do not encourage sportsmanship this can also encourage people in society to act in similar ways to the athletes that they look up to and idolize. For example, if an individual looked up to an athlete who was drinking excessively, they may see this as acceptable behavior. [5] The direct correlation between sportsmanship and leadership is also considered to be another contributing factor. [16] Having a positive environment in your sporting team will therefore create good sportsmanship from the individuals. Having a positive leadership by the captains, coaches and supporters would then encourage a positive sporting environment. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Fighting in ice hockey is an established tradition of the sport in North America, with a long history that involves many levels of amateur and professional play and includes some notable individual fights. Fighting is usually performed by enforcers, or "goons"—players whose role is to fight and intimidate—on a given team, and is governed by a complex system of unwritten rules that players, coaches, officials, and the media refer to as "the code". Some fights are spontaneous, while others are premeditated by the participants. While officials tolerate fighting during hockey games, they impose a variety of penalties on players who engage in fights.

Gamesmanship is the use of dubious methods to win or gain a serious advantage in a game or sport. It has been described as "Pushing the rules to the limit without getting caught, using whatever dubious methods possible to achieve the desired end". It may be inferred that the term derives from the idea of playing for the game as opposed to sportsmanship, which derives from the idea of playing for sport. The term was popularized by Stephen Potter's humorous 1947 book, The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship . It had, however, been used before by Ian Coster in his autobiographic book Friends in Aspic, published in 1939, where it was attributed to Francis Meynell.

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References

  1. See, e.g., Joel Fish and Susan Magee, 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent, p. 168. Fireside, 2003.
  2. David Lacey, "It takes a bad loser to become a good winner." The Guardian, November 10, 2007.
  3. Shields & Bredemeier, 1995.
  4. 1 2 3 Abad, Diana (2010). "Sportsmanship". Sport, Ethics and Philosophy. 4 (1): 27–41. doi:10.1080/17511320903365227.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Goldstein, Jay; Iso-Ahola, Seppo (2006). "Promoting Sportsmanship in Youth Sports". Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. 77 (7): 18–24. doi:10.1080/07303084.2006.10597902.
  6. 1 2 Clifford, Ken (2013). "Sport's also about sportsmanship". Newcastle Herald. 1 (33).
  7. 1 2 3 Feezell, Randolph (1986). "Sportsmanship". Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. 13 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1080/00948705.1986.9714436.
  8. "MJD", "If he's going to lose, Bill Belichick would rather be elsewhere". Yahoo Sports, February 3, 2008.
  9. E-releases, "Super Winners and Losers" ("The Patriots' coach was eviscerated by sports pundits for leaving the field before the game was actually finished.")
  10. Howe, Leslie (2008). "Gamesmanship". Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. 31 (2): 212–225. doi:10.1080/00948705.2004.9714661.
  11. Rudd; Stoll, Andrew; Sharon K (2013). "Understanding Sportsmanship". Journal of Education, Recreation & Dance. 69 (9): 38–42. doi:10.1080/07303084.1998.10605629.
  12. Bachel, Beverly (2009). "Scoring big: It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play". Current Health 2, A Weekly Reader Publication. 35 (7): 16–20. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  13. Josephson, Michael. "Ethics and sportsmanship (part I)". Pursuing Victory with Honor. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  14. Petzold, Dustin. "Concepts of Sportsmanship Vary Across Cultures". bigthink.com. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  15. Jones, Carwyn (2011). "Drunken role models: Rescuing our sporting exemplars". Sport, Ethics and Philosophy. 5 (4): 414–432. doi:10.1080/17511321.2011.561254.
  16. Wells, M. S. (2006). "Creating an environment for sportsmanship outcomes: A systems perspective". Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. 77 (7): 1–58.