- A love of fair play, whether winning or losing.
- Keen spirit, playing for the love of the game
- Courtesy to opponents; courage.
- Modesty in victory; cheerfulness in defeat.
No word is more abused than “sportsman”. Sometimes it is taken to mean a person who plays many games, or one who is very skilful at some particular game. Both are wrong Sportsmanship means the ability to play games in the proper spirit, win or lose, so as to earn esteem and respect. We need not say that a true sportsman will never use any unfair means or take advantage of an opponent. He will keep the rules of the game most scrupulously, and will expect his opponent to do the same. His aim will be to see a correct and keen struggle, with fair playon both sides. He takes the game quite seriously and does not like to see any half-hearted play. He goes out for a win, and puts all his energies into securing victory; he is disappointed if he finds that his opponent does not do the same.
At the same time, his attitude to an opponent is always generous. If there is a disputed point, as, for example, whether a ball was over the line on the tennis court or not, he will concede the point to an opponent rather than argue about it. In fact, he will never argue, but will accept what is plainly a wrong decision from the umpire with a patient smile. A true sportsman never loses his temper, whether it be with opponent or umpire.
When he wins, he will be modest and will not show excessive excitement or delight over his victory. Even players who have learned to accept defeat with calmness are not able to win with modesty. The true sportsman keeps his head, and remains cool and deliberate when he is losing. As long as there is a chance, he will fight on, giving away nothing by carelessness. In this way, defeat will often be turned into victory. When he cannot do that, he should be quick to clasp the winner’s hand and congratulate him, sincerely and without affectation. This is the spirit of the true sportsman, and the man or boy who conducts himself so will be welcomed wherever games are played. In conclusion, the true sportsman is much the same as a gentleman.