Sportsmanship is irrelevant in today’s society. Discuss.

Question type: Simple Polarity

Focus word: irrelevant

Topic word: Sportsmanship – playing fair, following the rules of the game, respecting the judgment of authority (referees and officials), treating opponents with respect – can refer to more than sports

Context: Today’s society (Scope can extend beyond sports.)

P: Sportsmanship breeds healthy competition, builds and promotes bonds in an increasingly competitive and divisive society. Sportsmanship heals losers’ wounds and spurs one do their best, everyone enjoys the game. As the players engage in fair play, a progressive and collaborative society is nurtured. Real winners are those who know how to persevere and to behave with dignity — whether they win or lose a game. Hilter was desperate for the 1936 Olympics to be a show of strength from the Aryan race only to be upstaged by black American Jesse Owens. His win was aided by the German athlete Lutz Long who gave him advice. Long was first to congratulate Owens and the two walked around the track arm-in-arm to an ecstatic crowd.

P: Treating opponents with respect is a form of civilised behaviour which should be present in all humans. Sportsmanship concentrates on improving self-control, skill and reaction which develop one’s good manners. To move towards a gracious society, citizens need to develop ethics like respect, possess moral conduct like dignity and sportsmanship is an avenue to do so, especially for the young generation. An instance could be stopping to help injured competitors as seen in marathons and soccer matches- 1981 London Marathon where the some runners helped the injured ones. The top 2 runners even crossed the finishing line together hand-in-hand. FIFA Fair Play Award winners like Paulo di Canio who ended a goal-scoring opportunity when the opposition’s goal keeper was hurt. Robbie Fowler who waived off a penalty that was wrongfully awarded to him.

P: Treating opponents with respect is unnecessary as showing sportsmanship may be deemed as a sign of weakness. Sportsmanship is not as desirable as victory. People only remember winners. Therefore, some players will rather be remembered as controversial winners instead of being labelled as losers. An instance would be Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ that clinched Argentina’s win in 1986 quarter-final World Cup match against England. Furthermore, diverting attention from own weaknesses by blaming others for their problems is easier than taking responsibility and accountability as pride is hard to swallow.

P: Following rules of the game may prove to be a career handicap in this dog-eat-dog world. In this conflict-prone world, rules usually are broken or breached to achieve success or attain change at the expense of sportsmanship. Michael Schumacher who drove dangerously or even caused intentional collisions to win has the most championship titles in F1 history.

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