Can the sportive spirit be taught?


Soccer – Army Youth Sports and Fitness – CYSS – Camp Humphreys, South Korea – 111001 by USAG-Humphreys

The spirit of sport is a celebration of the human spirit, body and mind. It embodies all that is positive and good in sport. Sport has been played since Roman times. The intrinsic value of sport is the spirit of sport. Hard to define and even harder to teach, I strongly believe it cannot be taught. It is imbibed by seeing it in play and being among people who believe in it.

George Orwell once wrote an essay about The Sporting Spirit in which he pointed out how sport had been turned into a contest thanks to rising nationalism. In certain heavily financed sports, politics and group hatred have raised their ugly heads. Doping too has taken its toll on the spirit of sports in the modern era.

To bring back clean sports with its spirit intact, is a multifaceted challenge. A passion for clean sport has to sweep right through the sport, it’s supporters, players, rule makers, watchers and all involved however far away they stand. Kids must be brought up among people who believe in ethics, fair play, honesty, excellence in performance, strong character, education, joy, teamwork, respect for rules, self and the others, courage and a commitment to play one’s best, without worrying about the result. By playing among such people, kids learn by example. They don’t have to be taught these things, they will naturally learn it as they will know of no other way.


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