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Competitive "recreational" play

John S

New member
As someone who enjoys playing sports and who is very competitive, I still realize that it is a game and I am not being paid to play. Basically I practice good sportsmanship and enjoy the experience. Some however find it necessary to use the win at all cost attitude. I have people tell me about this one and that one and what he or she did. Then they see me play hard but with respect for others and ask how I do it.

I am rarely short for words but in this case I just reply that it just comes natural for me to find a balance between intensity and enjoying the experience. It is just how you should act in my opinion in life as well as sports.

So since this is a sports psychology forum I wanted to throw out a question (no pun intended). Do you think in this changing society that good sportsmanship is fading away and if so then for what reasons?


My son played competitive sports from the time he was 3 until now, 19. We have had experience with this and the “nastiness” that can come from the competitive behaviors.

I think it still is dependent on the school, program, but specifically the coaches. The way the coaches demand the players to behave is the key to the young person retaining the expectations. If you teach them unruliness, they will behave that way. To be fair, being unruly can be fun to some youngsters, so it’s no wonder when given the “okay” by an adult that they take it.

There are still also ones like yourself, that may not have needed this direction regardless of who their coach was.

Competition is important and necessary in life. Also seeing that the good guy, no matter how hard he works, doesn’t always win. That is the biggest issue that is hard for most to face.

John S

New member
Excellent point about the "doesn't always win". I never got a trophy for participating when I was younger and I feel like it taught me that you had to work to have a chance at success and even then it is not guaranteed. As you said that is an important life lesson.
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New member
It is crazy to see how the hyper competitiveness can still stay through adulthood! I play pickup basketball at my local gym and sometimes it is discouraging how much people care about a game that essentially has no ramifications win or lose. It drives me nuts sometimes when play stops for 5 minutes or so when trying to figure out who hit the ball out of bounds.

I think the reason behind all of this is the fact that these people are all conditioned at a young age that winning is everything. I, myself, am very competitive but sometimes it just baffles me how aggressive adults can get over over what is essentially a child's game .