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A Return to Sportsmanship


by starizard

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Sportsmanship can be defined as the conduct and attitude considered as befitting the participants of a game. It especially includes fair play, courtesy, a striving spirit, and grace in losing.

When the Altador Cup first started, it was a strikingly beautiful thing to see - each team wishing their opponents good luck the day of the match, congratulating the other teams on their wins, banding together with their teammates, and good will towards all.

But lately on the neoboards, I'm struck by something else: an all-consuming desire to win at all costs. People are so obsessed with being the best that when they win, they feel the need to shove the losers' nose in it, and when those wins don't come, they feel the need to whine and cry and accuse the winners of having cheated.

Where has all that sportsmanship gone?

It's true that everyone likes to win, and no one ever likes to lose. That's just a simple fact of life. But really, isn't the whole point of participating in the Altador Cup, and in fact, all of Neopets, just to have fun?

None of us (outside of TNT of course) is making their living from the Altador Cup. It isn't a life-or-death battle on a quest to survive. Our careers don't depend on the outcome of the Championship. Our families don't depend on how many wins our teams get to survive. We've chosen our teams, worn our fingers out mashing our keyboards, and when it all comes down to the end, after the winner is crowned, all any of us will be able to say is that we did our best.

As my friend Seductively likes to say, "The worst thing you can say when you lose is that you were a sore loser - the same thing goes for when you win."

While these sore losers, and even sometimes sore winners, are by no means the majority, I see some other people saying, "It's not about playing, it's about scoring points." Or, because other teams that haven't done as well up to this point are closing in on them, and sometimes beating them, they've chosen to throw around ridiculous accusations. While, as I've said these folks are by no means representative of all their teammates, whether they realize it or not, they're actually damaging the reputations of their teams. Nobody wants their team to be known as a bunch of sore losers.

As sad as it may seem, I've even seen a few people saying that they're losing respect for their own teams - either because they've been accused of cheating, or because they've seen members of their team accusing others of cheating. Everyone should be able to feel proud of the team that they have chosen to join, win or lose.

Personally, I'd rather see the Championships really come down to the wire no matter which teams manage to pull it off. Nobody wants to watch a game where one team totally beats the pants off of the other one and everyone knows what the outcome will be before the game has even started - it's boring!

And I'd just like to see you try to go and say, "it's all about points," to the teams at the back of the pack!

I'm sure that these teams don't have that attitude - the teams for whom it's too late to Rally for the Championship.

But they're still playing - and why?

Because the Altador Cup is more about getting to play than playing to win.

I didn't get to participate in last year's cup at all, because of some computer issues of my own. I joined a team, but that's pretty much where the Altador Cup ended for me. And when I got those issues sorted out, even though my team had done well, I was still jealous of those who got to actually participate - because just being on a winning team doesn't mean anything if you didn't get the chance to help your team out.

This year, being actually able to participate, is much more rewarding. I love the excitement of getting up in the morning and checking to see the results of yesterday's match - be it the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. No matter what the outcome, I know that I've contributed to my team's success.

We should all be proud of our teams, Yooyuballers! As the old saying goes, "It's not whether you win or lose - it's how you play the game." I think a few of us need to take that saying to heart.

Personally, I've enjoyed getting to know my fellow Yooyuball players, and uniting together in the team spirit. I love seeing players show their pride in their teams on their lookups. I love seeing people creating graphics to encourage their teammates. And I especially love watching the excitement build when a particularly difficult match is coming up. Watching each team gather together on the boards to encourage and root each other on just makes my day. And whether we win or lose, we will all have done our best.

Yes, if we lose, we will be disappointed, but I really feel that I will have gained something whether or not my team wins - or even makes it into the Championships, for that matter.

My fellow Neopians - the time has come to rally! Not only to rally for your teams, but for to rally for the good of all Neopians! Let us all band together in a team spirit as Team Neopia! - No matter the outcome, we have, all of us, done our best - and that's the only thing that anyone can expect from any of us - nothing more, nothing less.

Let's all do our best to return to the sportsmanship we had at the beginning of the Cup. Let's not let competition and the desire to win ruin the fun for everyone involved.

When you win a match, congratulate the other team on having done their best, instead of rubbing their nose in it. And when you lose, do the same - we're all friends here, and there's no need to throw around petty accusations.

With a little Neopian Team spirit, we can all realize what is, above all, everyone's ultimate goal on Neopets - to have fun!

And good luck to ALL of the teams! May the most sportsmanlike team win!

Thanks to everyone on the board who had comments about my article!

 
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