The absence of sporting spirit and its consequences
The world from the dawn of civilization has been enjoying sports. One of the pastimes of the rulers was to arrange for periodical sports. It may be hunting, chariot race, horse riding, wrestling and boxing. Organized sports were popular in Greece, especially Olympia from which modem Olympic games have derived their names. Sports were for fun and frolics. In the middle ages sports were very popular in European countries. Sports are supposed to develop many good qualities. There may be healthy competition and rivalry and never enmity or bitterness. It is and should be for the sports’ sake and not for winning the laurels. This is the real sporting spirit. There are rules and regulations in play and games. The sporting spirit implies the following of rules whether one wins or loses. The outcome or the result is not the important thing but how the game is played.
A real sportsman takes things easy. Take for instance, an angler sitting by the river side from morning till evening, casting his line into the water. He may not always be lucky to have a catch. Still he whistles back home happy in the evening when the night sets in. It is not the catch that is the point but the angler’s attitude. He cannot grow angry and break the fishing rod. Then he has lost the fun. So too in any game the winner or the loser, much more so the latter must be able to take things easy. A real sportsman does not lose his head when he wins nor is he bowled over when he loses.
The crux of the problem is whether a sportsman plays the game; in other words if he strictly follows the rules of the game and never adopts foul means to get a win. But unfortunately this point is missing. In certain modem sports, games like horse racing, they dope the horses. The Olympic games where one expects the ideas to prevail seems to be no exception. There are instances of doping and impersonation and hence vigorous tests are given and the competitors are checked seriously.
When the sporting spirit is absent or missing, naturally very unpleasant consequences can ensue. Very ugly scenes are more often the rule in football matches. Referees are manhandled and the crowd become partisan. Cricket was a king of games where such behavior was unheard of. But of late, even in cricket unpleasant things do happen; when a player is signaled out by the umpire, he loses his temper and grimaces at the umpire and so on and makes a show of his unpleasantness. Bowlers are being very often warned. All these result from lack of sporting spirit.
A good sportsman knows his game rather than the rules of the game and follows them willingly. In whatever position he is placed he plays his part. He cooperates with all the members of the team and works always for the good of the team of which he forms a part. He develops espirit de corps and in and outside the field he shows this sporting spirit. He never plays foul though there are few who turn mercenary and wreck the fortune of their team for the sake of money or other considerations.
This sportsman’s spirit may be developed in ordinary life. In whatever walk of life one finds himself he must be able to do his duty. Material gains apart, he must be able to deliver the goods. He must be reliable and a good companion to his comrades. He is faithful and obedient to his superiors. He goes about his duty without gossiping and scandal mongering. Then people call him a good sportsman. Such people are scarce but they are assets wherever they are found.
If people do know the value of the sporting spirit why then the rarity or the absence of it ? Simply it is because of selfishness. For personal glory or ownership or name, one grows selfish. The selfishness gets started in early childhood. Jealousy and rivalry and sometimes even lack of security lead to selfishness. Very often children do not want to part with their play things or share them with, others. When this selfishness grows into life, there will be absence of sporting spirit. Such people keep themselves in isolation and they never mix freely with others. Temperamentally they are non-companionable and they are never happy nor add to the happiness of others. So we see that this sporting spirit must be developed even when they are children. Here comes the Cubs, Girl Guides and Boy Scouts movement which develop in their incumbents all the good qualities of a sportsman.