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August 09, 2020

Playing by rules does not always equal good sportsmanship

In competition, victory is attained by defeating one’s opponent. Although a competition might be fair and square in principle, when one side is clearly stronger and more skilful than the other, victory is a formality.
For the sake of the losing team, their coaches, and their families, victors should conduct themselves in a way that allows everyone to maintain their dignity. If a victory is too one-sided, it can be distasteful to the audience.
Athletes can be both fierce and friendly during a competition. While a football team might put several goals past the opposing keeper, or a boxer might dominate the judges’ scorecard, humiliating their opponents in the process is unnecessary. Though doing so might be within the rules of the game, it falls outside the bounds of common decency.
Losers still deserve dignity and grace, and should be allowed to avoid humiliation.  Respect for opponents underpins the very notion of good sportsmanship. Without them, there would be no competition at all.
In most competitions, there can only be one winner. While one side gains the upper hand, the dignity of the opponent should not be neglected.
Playing fair or by the rules is not enough to guarantee a good game. Even in war, vanquished enemies should be treated with respect, lest their humiliation provide further motivation for revenge.

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