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Etiquette Of Sport

OUT-OF-DOOR sports and games have become very popular in this country, it is perhaps needless to say. We all agree that exercise in the open air is an excellent thing, while we deprecate the extreme spirit of competition which marks some of the contests. Sports should be pursued as amusements and not as the serious business of life. The man who works too hard at his play fails to gain from it the pleasure and relaxation it should afford.

We are a young people, and after a time we shall wear off the glorious enthusiasm of youth from which we now suffer, or rather we shall reduce it to reasonable proportions. We shall perhaps be able to attend a football game or an intercollegiate race and show only moderate transports of joy at the success of our favorite team or crew.

In the meantime, let us rejoice that our sons and daughters live so much in the open air, improving their physique and training their faculties by such healthy exercise as swimming, skating, rowing, running, playing basket-ball, tennis, golf, foot-ball, hockey and base-ball afford. Out-of-door sports discipline the character as well as the body. They train the eye and ear to alertness, the hand to dexterity, the foot to swiftness; they develop hardihood, self-reliance, power of endurance, love of fair play, a spirit of good-fellowship and of generous emulation. Last, but by no means least, they tend to bring nerves and temper under control.

The true sporting spirit is a thing to be admired, for courage and other high qualities underlie it. It is the basis of the etiquette of sport which may be briefly summed up in a few general rules.

1. Learn the rules of the game thoroughly. Procure a copy of them whenever this is possible and make a careful study of them.

2. Remember that a novice should behave with great modesty. He should never interfere with the play of persons of experience, should never criticize nor offer advice, but maintain the humility proper to a beginner.

3. Pay close attention to the game as long as it is in progress. It is usually important to observe what the other players are doing.

4. Stick strictly to the rules. If these enjoin silence, be careful not to talk nor make a noise.

5. Do your best to win by all fair means, but never by unfair or doubtful ones.

6. Play for the success of your side or team and not for your individual glory. Many a game has been lost by the anxiety of certain men to shine as stars.

7. Don't try to influence the referee, and don't abuse him.

8. Play for the sake of the game, and not merely to win.

9. Accept defeat cheerfully, like a true sportsman.

10. Bear no grudge against the winner in a fair field.

11. Never lose your temper.

12. Be generous whether in victory or in defeat. Do not triumph unduly over a fallen foe, nor begrudge merited praise to a successful adversary.

13. A true sportsman should never forget chivalrous to a woman opponent.

14. He should never take advantage of his superior strength to set a pace beyond the power of a woman to follow.

15. A woman should remember that in all sports requiring strength, she will be outclassed by most men. Hence she should not attempt to play against them on even terms.

16. While she may accept a moderate advantage, she must also show a spirit of fair play, and not expect to have everything yielded to her, merely because she is a woman. If she takes part in out-of-door games and sports, she must try to do so in the spirit of the true sportswoman.

17. A woman should do everything in a way appropriate to her sex. She should not copy men nor adopt masculine ways.

( Originally Published 1911 )

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