Sportsmanship can be defined as playing with consideration for fairness, ethics, and respect for others. Sportsmanship is all about keeping the integrity of the game. It can be tempting to be a bad sportsman. Competitive emotions can cause disrespect for opponents. Cheating can help you reach your goals. But sports was not meant to be equivalent to war. It is not a selfish, free-for-all, activity. Sports are meant to be beneficial to everyone. When you are a good sportsman, you help keep the integrity of the game, making sure it survives for future generations. If everyone played unfair, was disrespectful and cheated, the game wouldn’t be worth playing anymore. Would you enjoy tennis if every close line call was called out? Look at the game of college football. It is becoming very corrupt with a “win at all costs” mentality. The pressure to win is tempting teams to break NCAA violations. Many colleges sweep criminal activity under the rug to prevent players from being suspended. Is winning more important than law and order?

Being a big cheater is sometimes caused from a lack of understanding true satisfaction. Can you be satisfied from winning if you had to cheat to win? Wouldn’t you rather challenge yourself to win the right away? Anyone can cheat, but to win ethically is a true accomplishment. Even if you lose ethically, you can still be satisfied knowing you played fairly and helped keep the integrity of the game.

Athletes will continue to cheat until the consequences outweigh the benefits. The moral guilt along with the possible punishments (suspension/fines, bad reputation) should be enough to outweigh the benefits in my opinion. As a player or a coach, make sure sportsmanship is a trait that you value and endorse.