Games and Sports

you had awfully bad luckI’ve never been much of a sports person. It could have something to do with my life as a band geek, or perhaps a desire to avoid confrontation and pain. In any case, I was invited to a Super Bowl party this weekend and decided to brush up on the subject in order to get in the mood. The following tips on sportsmanship come from Vogue’s Book of Etiquette. It should come in handy for those in Tampa. Play politely, gentlemen ~ I’ll be watching (sort of)!

1948: Games and Sports

Sportsmanship applies to all competitive games, from tennis to checkers. And these are its rules: One must play one’s best always; one must be a generous opponent, slow to take advantage of technicalities in one’s favor, quick to give others the benefit of the doubt; one must accept defeat gracefully and victory with deprecating modesty. The man who boasts about winning or bewails his bad luck, or stops trying when he is far behind, is a bad sport.

The ideal attitude of any player is expressed in the old saying, ‘Play for the sake of the game; not only to win.’ When the game is over, the ideal attitude of winner and loser is expressed in this short conversation not necessarily to be repeated verbatim after each game, but conveying the ideal attitude perfectly:

Loser: That was a good game.
Winner: You had awfully bad luck.
Loser: No question of luck at all; you played well.

All rules of sportsmanship are based on the following premises:

1. If one breaks a rule, one must accept an opponent’s correction immediately and willingly, with some phrases such as, ‘Oh, of course; I’m so sorry.’ Infringements that may not have been noticed by one’s opponents should be rectified and apologized for at once.

2. Upbraiding a partner for an error in judgment or for poor playing is the height of bad sportsmanship. As the offending partner one should say, ‘That was horrible. I let you down badly,’ to which the answer can only be, ‘Not at all. I should have done the same,’ or ‘Not at all. You had a tough break.’

3. Delaying the game, for deep thought, to study conditions, or whatever, is boring to all concerned and should be avoided. The only possible exceptions to this rule are games such as croquet, where delay is part of the battle strategy. But it is a technique best used among friends. Righteous impatience is even more rude and unsporting. Tapping, whistling, moving about, whether to indicate impatience or not, are impossible in any game.

4. In any game, the most attractive player is the one who is the quickest to accept the rules and playing customs of others.

Source: Fenwick, Millicent. Vogue’s Book of Etiquette. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1948.
~ pp. 80-81 ~