A – 6: that are played out
B – 4: that you respect your opponent
C – 7: what they have been through
D – 3: that you chose
E – 1: what keeps sports civil
F – 5: that your victory was entirely
Finding your sportsman spirit
Doing sports, we can really test our physical fitness in contest, and it is one of the only ways that nations clash peacefully. Sportsmen and sportswomen are today’s warriors – the contests A__that are played out__ on the pitches and courts are the closest things we have to gladiatorial fighting.
If sportsmen are like warriors, then the ‘sportsman spirit’ could be considered the closest thing we have to a warrior’s code – to bushido or to chivalry. If you develop good sportsmanship then this means that you take joy in the contest and at the same time B__that you respect your opponent__, that you win graciously and that you don’t cheat.
If you have put time and effort into training then you are aware of the blood, sweat and tears that the opposition has put in as well. They will have had the same dedication to their game as you have and you will know precisely C__what they have been through__. In this way you are brothers (or sisters) and the only difference between you is D__that you chose__ different teams. For this reason they deserve your respect.
There are many traditions in many sports to help us retain good relationships with our opponents. This means things like shaking hands at the end of a tennis match, and this is E__what keeps sports civil__ and honourable rather than just being muddy skirmishes.
You might have performed brilliantly on the pitch, but you are kidding yourself if you believe F__that your victory was entirely__ of your own doing. If nothing else, the weather and luck will have played a role in the outcome, and if you’re playing a team sport then you are only one cog in a machine.