Why do we play sport?
We play sport for healthy recreation and enjoyment. Sport also has great educational value in that it not only promotes physical fitness, but also encourages teamwork and the development of self-control, co-operation, loyalty, unselfishness, determination and leadership. Sometimes pupils who begin their school careers as rather selfish and self-centred individuals gradually develop into far more balanced personalities as a result of participation in team games.
On the principle that sport is good for the individual and good for the school, every able-bodied pupil should play sport at school. It is also very much in the pupil’s interest to play for his or her school rather than for an outside club.
The pupils of our school thoroughly enjoy taking part in inter-school matches. Competition is an important part of sport, and there is nothing wrong with this - as long as such competition produces enjoyment and not ill-feeling. Inter-school matches are not worthwhile if they cause hostility and strained feelings between players or between schools.
Standards of sporting behaviour have been declining generally. Poor sportsmanship invariably spoils the game and creates bad feelings among players as well as spectators. We must try to ensure that the general lowering of standards of sportsmanship does not filter into the various sports offered at our school.
When we play our games, we play to win. However, sport is being spoilt today by the tendency to play to win "at all costs". Thus dishonesty, over-robustness, displays of temper, intimidating and ridiculing the umpire, disputing the referee’s decision, fighting, gamesmanship and uncalled-for behaviour on the part of team supporters have all become an unfortunate part of the sporting scene. Some of our international and provincial sportsmen set a very poor example for young players by indulging in these practices.
This kind of bad sportsmanship must not be allowed to creep into our games. A sport disciplinary committee run by the sport council executive deals with misconduct incidents reported to them via the head of sport. There is a formal hearing, and punishment suitable to the offence is given.
Principles and practices to be adhered to when playing matches
• Keep a sense of proportion. It is only a game -- not a major confrontation. It is not the end of the world if the match ends in defeat for us. We should try to play a good game and to enjoy it, but we should certainly not adopt the attitude that we must "win at all costs".
• Give of your very best. Practise hard and play hard. Do not give in if the tide turns against you in a match -- rather accept it as a challenge to "come back".
• Make yourself familiar with the rules and stick to them. Do not try to gain unfair advantage by breaking rules deliberately in the hope that you will get away with it -- this is downright dishonest.
• Accept the referee’s decision without question or hesitation. Do not show disagreements, irritation or disgust. Even the best referees make mistakes or are sometimes unsighted. The referee is really doing you and the school a favour by controlling the match.
• Exercise self-control. A sportsman, in the true sense of the word, does not lose his or her temper or indulge in fighting and over-robust play. He or she plays the ball and not the other person. Some players and spectators are obsessed with a "physical" approach, rather than with skilful, imaginative play. Do not retaliate when you think your opponent is guilty of foul play. Absorb the dirty play, let it motivate you to play harder, and become more focused on victory! Leave it to the referee to take action -- do not take the law into your own hands. Speak with your captain, if necessary. (S)he can approach the referee with any legitimate complaints.
• There is only one captain in a team. Do not put her or him in a difficult or embarrassing situation by issuing orders yourself. Undermining a captain’s authority will lessen the team’s chances of success. Do not "moan" at players who make mistakes. Encouragement produces better results than blame, and helps to build up team spirit and produce an enjoyable game.
• Avoid gamesmanship. Do not try to gain unfair advantage by using tactics that are not in keeping with the true spirit of the game, e.g. repeated, concentrated appeals in cricket, time-wasting in order to avoid being defeated, kicking or hitting the ball away when a penalty is awarded.
• Do not indulge in displays of temperament. There should be no throwing down of the bat or racquet, nor shaking of the head in disbelief at the umpire’s decision.
• A true sportsman does not look for excuses for his or her team’s defeats, e.g. blaming the pitch or the refereeing.
• Show courtesy and friendliness towards visiting players. See that they know where their change rooms are and on which field they are playing. After the match show them that you are good losers or modest winners. Thank referees, first aiders, coaches, those serving refreshments or providing transport.
• Ensure that you are properly dressed for your sport. Treat equipment with care-- you are paying for it! Leave the change rooms as you would like to find them.
Be a sporting spectator
• We appeal strongly to parents to support us in maintaining this code.
• Encourage our players, but also show appreciation for good play by our opponents. Never jeer at the opponents or make disparaging comments.
• Do not run up and down the touchline or move onto the field of play. This is physically dangerous to you and the player. In addition, the actions of an over-enthusiastic, partisan spectator can inflame the feelings of the players to the point where they lose self-control.
• Do not become involved in arguments with supporters of the opposing school.
• A steady stream of advice to the players from the sidelines can be unsettling and confusing. "Coaching" is not allowed.
• Criticism of the referee or umpire is not only unsporting, but it also spoils the whole atmosphere of the game and unsettles the players. Abuse of the referee is totally unacceptable.
• Exercise self-control and maintain a sense of proportion. If your team is losing, it is not a major tragedy!
Important reminders for those participating in sports
• Pupils sign up at the start of the season, and are committed for the full duration of the season.
• Pupils may not miss a practice unless excused by the teacher responsible. Normally this should take the form of a note from the parent, which should be handed to the teacher before the practice and as early as possible on the day concerned -- not later than first break.
• Missing a match or coming late for a match is a serious offence. Every player should have the means of communicating with his or her staff coach or team captain in case an emergency arises: exchange phone numbers!
• In the case of rain, every pupil must turn out for a match unless it is certain that the match has been cancelled. For practices, sports clothes must be brought to school even when it is raining in the morning.
• Strict attention must be paid to clean, correct dress.