It has often been said that it does not matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game. Now that we got that complete line of bull**** out of the way lets be honest. How many people go into a competition saying that they hope they will lose? How many of us play a game with the hope that we will lose? The truth is it does matter if we win or lose. When we say that it does not matter if we win or lose that is something that is meant to make the person who was not good enough to win feel better about themselves. Sports are more than just fun and games. It does not matter if it is a pick up game of football played between kids at the park or if it is the Super Bowl. Competition is everywhere. Fighting to win is a great thing that should be embraced. It teaches cooperation, coordination, and creativity. All of these are great qualities that every person should possess if they wish to succeed.
No matter how important winning is there must be ethics within every competition. It is the ethics that make a competition worth winning, because they are what keeps the competition fair and balanced. There are two kinds of competitors in the world. Those who practice sportsmanship and those who practice gamesmanship. It is important that we do not confuse the two for the same thing. There is a very real difference between the two types of competitors. It is not that one of them values winning more or less than the other, instead they value the journey of how they came upon victory different from each other.
It is important that we take a look at these two types so that we can understand them better. Examples of gamesmanship mentality include:
Winning is everything
Athletes have no moral responsibility to follow the rules and allow fair competition. It is the referee’s job to make sure that the rules are adhered to.
Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. The ends justify the means.
The behavior of those who are more interested in gamesmanship might include faking an injury, intentionally trying to injure your opponent so that they are taken out of the game, using steroids, taunting or intimidating an opponent, and a coach lying about an athletes grades to try and keep them eligible to play. The gamesman places more value on the win itself and less value on how the victory is gained.
The sportsman on the other hand while they value victory and see winning as important has a different outlook in regards to the journey. They believe in things like honesty, compassion, fair play. They have the integrity to bring a foul to a referee’s attention that the referee may have missed when that foul goes against them or their team. They respect their sport and competition enough not to try and seek an unfair advantage. The sportsman conducts themselves in a manner that shows character development as a person. They try to set an example for others in their community to follow, because they understand that their actions don’t just influence what happens in the field of battle. Their actions can influence what happens outside the sport and out in the community. They bring honor to themselves, their families, their community, and the game through tough but fair play.
A recent track meet that took place in Connecticut has me taking a really close look at it as I am trying to find the sportsmanship and honor that there is supposed to be found in healthy competition. Two years in a row now a group of transgender athletes have dominated their events at the girls track and field state championships. Social justice warriors must be so proud. They would try to argue that this victory is as it should be and the better athlete won. Social justice warriors would try to say that people like myself who see that this isn’t right are prejudice against the LGBTQ community. I personally don’t care if a boy wants to put on a dress and a bowl of fruit on his head while prancing around to the song “It’s Raining Men” in the privacy of their own home. They can sing their hearts out with the village people for all I care. What I do care about is fair competition and so do the parents of the athletes who have lost for the second straight year.
The parents who have been made to see their cisgender daughters lose for the second year in a row to transgender girls are now stepping forward to try to ban transgender athletes in their area from being allowed to compete as girls. They are not pleased that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows athletes to compete as the gender that they identify as. It is these rules that allow for an uneven playing field in the world of sports competition. The parents and their supporters have started a petition to see that the rules are changed. They have stated that their petition is not aimed at the individual athletes that the change in rules will affect.
Law professor Erin Buzuvis is the director of the Center of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Western New England college spoke out against the petition when she told the Courant, “a transgender girl is a girl and ought to be treated like a girl. If you start to put limitations or exclusions on their participation, not only do you run the risk of violating state anti-discrimination law but also you are disregarding and disrespecting a population of students based on a core aspect of their identity, which is something that schools should not be in the practice of doing. understand that it appears to many people as an inequitable playing field, but they don’t have any context or knowledge about how that athlete’s life would be if she weren’t transgender. And it would be possible she’d be beating their daughters if she was cisgender (someone who identifies with their birth sex).”
While there are some who would feed into this craziness that allows a male to pretend to be a female and try to tell the rest of us that we are the ones who are wrong because we see the truth I personally allow my thoughts to fall upon the words of the great playwright William Shakespeare. It was Shakespeare who told us that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. In the year 2018 it is Alex Roberts who will tell you that the male body no matter what name you place upon it is still a male body. There are some areas where it may be okay to allow people to be treated by the gender that they identify with instead of the one they are born with. Sports isn’t one of them. As long as transgender girls are allowed to compete against cisgender girls there will never be sportsmanship to be found in the competition.