Hi Everyone,
Maybe you can help me with this: I'm looking for a word to replace "sportsmanship." Ok, maybe I'm being too fussy, but I would like to use words that sound a bit less gender-biased. For instance, on the soccer teams I coach and play on, we use the phrase "on you" instead of "man on." In class, I try not to say "you guys" and instead say "you all" or "people." Can anyone help me find a new word for sportsmanship? I'd like a word that could be used in this sort of sentence: "Having good sportsmanship is the most important thing of all." Is there a different--or new--word that conveys the same meaning?

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My bad--
this sort of discussion isn't really part of practical applications for the read/write web; guess I should follow directions better!
But I'm grateful for the comment anyway!
Has there been an accepted replacement for "sportsman"? Sportsperson is okay, but sportspersonship is a bit much to chew on. Perhaps "fair play"? "Fair play is the most important thing of all." Sounds okay, but this lacks the negative frame. "She demonstrated bad/poor fair play" doesn't work well.

Reducing gender-biased language is a great pursuit; I'm curious to see what alternatives come to mind through this discussion.
Hi Matt,
I don't know of a replacement for sportsman, as in outdoors-person, but for soccer, "player" will do. I love your idea of "fair play"--that could be used a lot. Thanks for the comment! Let's keep thinking. It may actually be time for a new word in our language. We could originate it...if only we could devise a suitable replacement.
Wow, this is difficult. What if you said "appropriate behavior," or maybe "appropriate response," or perhaps appropriate reactions?"

Matt mentions the idea of having the opposite concept available, which would be "inappropriate..."

I have heard fellow coaches use the word "class" as a reference to "good sportsmanship," but I personally don't like that term either. They will say, "He's a classy guy" when they approve of the reaction. Or "They have no class." Yuck.

I had a coach, many years ago, who defined sportsmanship as doing the right thing at the right time. Once our young minds had control of the idea, he would remind us to "be right" when we shook hands at the end of a game. Don't gloat when you win, don't make excuses when you lose.

This really is a hard question.
I like the "be right" comment. It's now added to the list of possibilities.
Sportsmanship is such a good concept. It connotes things no other word does--and is very different from appropriate/inappropriate. Sportsmanship is gut-level goodness, adding to the game in a way that makes it a better game.
"Be right" is good--
Let's continue thinking. Thanks!
In British English, there is actually such a term - if an action is unsportsmanlike, it's "not cricket". The game of cricket is supposed to be the epitome of sportsmanship. An international player some years ago was heavily criticized because although the umpire didn't spot it, the player himself knew he was out. And he actually hesitated for a few seconds before declaring himself out! That slight hesitation simply "wasn't cricket." This may not help you in your search for a term - I don't think there are any US sports which would be appropriate substitutes.
Great! Perfect! I'll try it. Who knows--we may be able to make a shift on the local scale here. We'll see if some teams will start using this expression. Since it's British, it's cool. You may have provided the answer!
Thanks a million! May I say, that was very cricket of you? (Is it used in a positive form, too? "Do what's cricket?")
As a male coach of a women's high school soccer team I struggle with this all the time. It is so instinct for me to yell "man on," I've been trained my whole life to do so. But I'm with you. I often change it to, "being a good sport is the most important thing..." We definitely need a noun though, and sportspersonship doesn't exactly do it.



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