Sportsmanship or sporting spirit means the right spirit in which a game is played. An ideal sportsman plays a game for the sake of the game. He is neither puffed by a victory nor depressed by a defeat. He remains ever the same both in adversity and prosperity.
He does not take undue advantage of the weakness of his opponents Just as on the playground so in the broad field of life, he shows his true sportsman spirit. In all walks of life, his motto is:
“Play up! play up! play up the game!”
A marked quality of an ideal sportsman is that he believes in fair play and no favour. He does not want any favour to be shown to his team. He believes in equal opportunities for all, he never hits below the belt or plays an underhand game to win a victory. He observes the rules very honestly
To set the cause above renown,
To love the game beyond the prize.
Again an ideal sportsman displays the same enthusiasm in the end as in the meaning of the game. He takes the same keen interest in the game whether the opponent is strong or weak.
He will neither challenge nor defy the decision of the umpire even if it goes against the interest of his team. The greatest test of a true sportsman comes when he is playing a losing game. He gives a good account of himself even in the hour of his defeat.
Team-spirit is also an important element of sportsmanship. In games, the various players must co-operate with one another if they wish to win a match. Sportsmanship means one for all and all for one. In co-operation indeed lies strength. For an ideal sportsman, failures are not a source of discouragement but a stepping stone to success.
Human life is a vast playground where the game of life is played on a bigger scale. The qualities of an ideal sportsman are co-operation, team spirit, discipline, obedience, Fairfield and no favour. These qualities are also required for playing the game of life.
“A true sportsman is he who harmonises strength and weakness in the interest of peace and order,”says Plato.
In all walks of life, an ideal sportsman shows due regard for the feelings and thoughts of others. His dealings with others are always fair and square.
“The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playground of Eton (a public school in England),”said Wellington.
What he meant was that the qualities of sportsmanship learnt by the English soldiers in their schools, stood them in good stead when they came to face such a terrible enemy as Napoleon on the battle-field of Waterloo. The fact is that a true sportsman observes all those rules in life which he has been taught to observe in games.
In short, an ideal sportsman is noted for his high sense of discipline impartiality, honesty, far-play, broad mindedness, frankness and fellow feeling. He does not regard games and sports as merely a means of advertisement or publicity, prizes or medals. He plays them for pleasure and amusement. He looks upon games and sports as a means of moulding character.