Question: ‘What is important is not the winning, but taking part.’ How realistic is this attitude in the world of sport today?
Essay by Huixuan
Today, the world of sport is filled with harsh competition, and commercialization of popular sports has beget a culture based on fame and winnings. However, by the words of Baron Pierre, the founder of the Olympics, that ‘what is important is not winning, but taking part’, such culture should not be as prevalent as it is in our society now.
This attitude for the current sporting world is more than unrealistic. From what we see in the world of sports, especially the more popular sports like football or basketball, players get paid enormous amounts for winning games. Therefore, most sports are becoming far from ‘sports’ and closer to becoming a means of living. This being the case, players cannot be blamed for wanting to win at every cost. Many sportsmen now start with an ambition of gaining money from victories in games and then becoming billionaires. To these sportsmen, ‘taking part’ is pointless without the win.
On another note, the win itself is important for the winners and losers alike; it boosts motivation, albeit in different ways. Winners of the competition, who achieve victory, are more motivated to pursue the sport, to achieve more possible victories. Sportsmen who lose out and did not win, on the other hand, gain the motivation to try again, not for the sake of ‘participation’, but for the attempt to win.
Another reason that sports is more about winning than the participation stems from the fact that the sportsmen themselves want the admiration and recognition from fellow competitors. From young, children who represent different institutions like schools will compete against each other with the ideal of participation over victory. However, this is a ridiculous assumption. Even adults and the schools themselves want representatives of these institutions to win, to bring honour to whatever organization they represent. The mindset of ‘victory is important’ is indirectly ingrained into young children as they work to represent their institutes. Winning sportsmen cannot be made if we let them think that losing is acceptable and that participation is all that matters.