Sportsmanship does not mean only taking part in sports and playing the game in conformity with the rules prescribed, but also playing the game of life in the spirit imbibed on the playing fields.
A true sportsman is he who observes all those rules in life which he has been taught to observe in games. One who has achieved skill or proficiency in games but does not learn to apply the principles of sports to life in general does not deserve to be called a sportsman.
On the contrary, a man who gives evidence of possessing a sporting spirit in games is still a sportsman. Usually those who play games develop into true sportsmen because their character is molded by the training they are given on the field.
It implies fair play. Just in games if any player plays foul, the side to which he belongs is penalized, similarly in the bigger game of life one must always be fair in one's dealings with others.
Fairness, honesty, integrity, openness of heart and frankness -these are the qualities that a sportsman must display in life. One should not practice deception, should not bluff, should not cheat others and should indulge in diplomacy or humility. A sportsman never takes undue advantage of the weakness of his adversary nor does he hit below the belt.
The art implies obedience to the leader. In games the players have to obey their captain and yield to him on points on which they are in disagreement with him. They must repose the fullest confidence in him. In life too, a sportsman yields to his superior even if he does not agree with him. Respect for discipline is an essential part of sportsmanship.
Team spirit is another important element of sportsmanship. In games the various players must cooperate with one another if they wish to win a match. Without mutual co-operation success is impossible. Similarly in whatever sphere of life one may be, one must aid and be aided by one's friends if one is a true sportsman.
Sportsmanship consists in working in full harmony with others. In cooperation indeed lies strength. Wherever a common aim binds a number of people together, they must display their sportsmanship by working harmoniously, without friction or mutual jealousy.
Finally, the spirit of sportsmanship demands cheerfulness even in the face of a defeat. When two players play a tennis match, the loser does not cherish any grudge against the winner. In fact the loser congratulates his opponent on his success and shakes hands with him.
Fair play, respect for discipline, recognition of the need for teamwork and cheerfulness even in the event of defeat are thus the dominant marks of a sportsman. Sportsmanship is worthy of admiration
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