Why Is Sportsmanship Important?

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Good sportsmanship is important not only as a practice of etiquette and respect in sports but also because it helps teach young athletes good behavior that carries over into other aspects of life. For example, a young athlete who believes that it is appropriate to gloat when his or her team wins may believe that such condescending and rude behavior is appropriate in other aspects of life. While sports provide physical activity and competition, these activities are also forms of social engagement that are guided by a set of behavioral rules much in the same way that other activities like business place a secondary emphasis on social behavior.

Fair play, adherence to rules, respect for authority and kindness toward opponents are all values that are part of sportsmanship, but theses ideals are also essential components of mature behavior in other contexts. Athletes who display poor sportsmanship, including cheating, attempting to sabotage the other team and losing one’s temper when a referee makes a disputed call, are not only violating tenets of good behavior on the sports field, but are also acting generally rude based on wider, non-sports-specific social rules. Sportsmanship is also important in the context of athletics in order to make the experience of play sports more pleasant for everyone involved.