Sir Henry Newbolt, a scholar, a critic and a poet of modern england, had caught and interpreted in his literary works the spirit of the public school and University. That spirit is always a clarion call to Noble activity to serve the common good with an unflinching patriotism to one’s own country and loyalty to mankind. Among many of his spirited and patriotic verses, we come across a beautiful thought expressed with genuine sentiment. It is this
“And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat
Or the selfish hope a season’s fame
But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
Play up! Play up! and play the game!”
This sense of fair-play and doing one’s duty under the encouraging eye of one’s captain creates the most potent influence in the formation of one’s character. The greatness of the English nation has been built on such a solid foundation. Children and schoolboys in public school are taught this virtue of sportsmanship. And they are . trained up to love manly games like Cricket, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer. This love of games and healthy sports, this sense of honour Wright inculcated in the play ground, this discipline which entails self-control and self-denial, builds up the national character. And with this sense of fair play when these boys enter the universities, they are fit to receive that higher training, and liberal education in the shape of the formation of character through clash of mind with mind, knowledge with knowledge.
With this sweetness and light, the students, who come to the universities, must learn the significance of playing the game in all spheres of their corporate activities in life. There is no better place to learn this sense of fair-play than in fields of sports-particularly when a tournament of importance is run in various games.
For instance, cricket is praised by all with the aphorism, “The Lord of games and a game of Lords!” To play. cricket is synonymous with the highest integrity and fair-play. And various Test Matches played between England and Australia, between England and West Indies, between England and India between England and Pakistan, between Australia and India and between Australia and Pakistan, have shown the quality of true sportsmanship in scores of well-known cricketers like Don Bradman, Ponsford, Hammond, Hanif Muhammad, Gul Muhammad, Fazal Mahmud, Hazari, Dulip Singh Holl meyer, Weekes-only a few names to be recounted from the teams of England, India, Pakistan, and West Indies, who have made fame in Test Matches by their wonderful display of tact, quick judgment, precision, and sense of dignity and honour. To bring out the best qualities in a sportsman and to inculcate the spirit of fair play, cricket tournaments are run in Pakistan like the Pak Trophy. A gold cup is presented by the President, in memory of Quaid-i-Millat. Then ther is the Pentangular Cricket Match of Karachi in which famous Pakistan cricketers like Kardar, Hanif, Mustaq Ali, have shown their briliant alent in sportsmanship.
In Lawn Tennis, All-Pakistan Tennis Tournaments are held in Pakistan is justly proud of the achievements of Ghaus Muhammad, Rashid, Tariq and Akram.
In Football, P.F.A. Shield Tournament is run on an AllPakistan basis and the winning teams of Muhammad Iqbal, East Bengal and Muslim Sporting have received enthusiastic homage from millions football fans.
Again in the field of Hockey, Pakistan team held the foremost place-in the past three Olympiads-at Amsterdam in 1948, at Los Angeles in 1952 and at Berlin in 1956. In the fourteenth Olympiad held in England in 1958, Pakistan retained her championship in Hockey by beating Great Britain in the final game.
These games and sports through healthy emulation create the true sportsmanship spirit in all those who take part in them.
Now in the wider sense of the meaning of this saying ‘Play the game,’ the same spirit of fair-play should guide all our activities of life even. What we learn from the game of cricket is to be applied to our conduct, in the discharge of our daily duties in life. This sense of fairplay will emancipate us from narrow grooves of selfishness, greed, jealousy, insincerity, dishonesty and meanness. This sense of fair-play will originate in us sympathy and broadness of outlook in life. Over and above this we have unbibed true courage to face the battle of life from the playground. Fortitude is a great virtue in life and it is manifested in all its grandeur in time of extreme difficulties and dangers in life. To keep the buoyancy of spirit in face of difficulties and defeat is a virtue we learn from the field of sports and games. And when in real life, we are faced with danger, we can keep our chins up. with courage and fortitude, we have learned in playing the game as it should be played.
Thank of Captain Scott in the icy deserts of the North Pole awaiting with courage his own death, as he lost touch with humanity and his store of food diminished each day causing his gradual death. What a magnificent example of fortitude, of playing the game with the last breath of life he has set before the world!
These virtues, of courage, of bearing one’s sorrows and sufferings with the smile on the lips, of understanding and admiration of greatness in the enemy, of charity and large-heartedness, are the gifts of games to those who are votaries of sportsmanship. And we should emulate the example set by great sportsmen by incorporating in our life the virtues that exist in “Playing the game.”