In a battle between two pole vaulters, Japanese athletes Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe made it to the finals at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. Nishida was awarded the silver medal, while Oe was given the bronze. When the two athletes returned to Japan, they cut their medals in half, and created two special medals – one half-silver, one half-bronze – for each athlete to cherish.
This gesture might have given you a warm fuzzy feeling and goosebumps and an “awww…” in there somewhere. Sportsmanship does not only mean participating in sports and playing a clean game. It means a lot more. For these two athletes, it also means acknowledging and respecting another person’s effort and abilities–one of the important virtues promoted by sports.
Today, Japan takes a day off to celebrate National Health and Sports Day across the country. Citizens celebrate health and wellness across Japan, a national holiday that was also created to commemorate the opening ceremonies of the 1964 Olympic Games which took place in October, the first games to take place in Asia. Around this time of the year, sports festivals are held in schools and companies around the country and is usually an all-day affair. Playing sports keeps us strong and keeps us in excellent shape. But sometimes, we tend to forget other important things that it promotes.
Youngsters and sports
Games and sports have immense impact upon the character of the youngsters. This is the stage where the things they learn could make or break them in the future. Aside from improving communication skills, playing sports helps the young ones learn the concept of respect, teamwork, the value of patience and discipline and the sense of responsibility that prove valuable in adulthood. Usually, those who play games develop into true sportsmen because their character is molded by the training they are given on the field. The education imparted in schools is mainly intellectual. However, more schools should realize the organic connection between mind and body and give equal importance to the physical training of the young.
Sports and adults in the corporate world
Participating in sports events also helps adults improve their lives in many aspects. Sports is a part of society as both an educational fixture and an entertainment enterprise. It forms part of human and social development and contributes to social cohesion, tolerance and integration and is a perfect channel for physical and socio-economic development.
In a corporate setting for example, sports events can serve as a team-building activity that would help colleagues know more about the people they work with. Sports teams teach the value of simply trusting each other and sharing the same goals. A team will not work if its members are pulling in different directions and through sports, they may be able to assure each other that they are working for the same cause. Team spirit is an important element of sportsmanship, something that should always be present in sports events, be it for young ones or for adults.
Sportsmanship means working in full harmony with others; and in cooperation, lies strength. Wherever a common goal binds a number of people together, they must always display their sportsmanship by working together without envy or jealousy. Sportsmanship demands cheerfulness even in the face of defeat. Holding grudges against the winner smudges the true meaning of sportsmanship.
Sport is a means of exchange and understanding among people. It promotes expression beyond traditional barriers. The rules of the game transcend differences and inequality and help redefine success and performance. It’s much more than promoting physical and mental wellness. Remember that promoting health and well-being and improving strength requires daily exercise and an improved diet. Also keep in mind that sports isn’t all about winning or bagging the price; part of it is also about improving oneself and winning others’ respect.