Sportsmanship is defined as behavior conforming to the rules and the proper spirit of a sport. Sportsmanship typically is regarded as a component of morality in sport; morality in sport being composed of three related concepts: fair play, sportsmanship, and character.
Poor sportsmanship can be typified by either the winners "rubbing salt in the wounds" of the losers, or the losers expressing their frustration at not winning, even to the point of holding a grudge.
Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors.
Too often the pressures of competition and individual achievement seem to work against enjoyment by the participants. As a result, sportsmanship is often contrasted with its converse, gamesmanship or campaign strategy.
While some cat registries have a Code of Ethics that contain a reference to good sportsmanship, none of the major cat registries have an official Code of Sportsmanship... a sad omission.
The dog fancy is much older than the cat fancy... and like an older brother, the dog fancy can act as a role model for a younger sibling.
And fortunately, the American Kennel Club has an official Code of Sportsmanship that with a few tweaks to suit a feline point of view, would be of untold benefit if applied to the cat fancy. So... we present for your consideration...
A Feline Code of Sportsmanship
A true sportsman or sportswoman:
- Knows and respects the history, traditions and integrity of the sport of pedigreed cats.
- Commits themselves to values of fair play, honesty, courtesy and vigorous competition, as well as winning and losing with grace.
- Refuses to compromise their commitment and obligation to the sport of pedigreed cats by injecting personal advantage or consideration into their decisions or behavior.
- Judges only on the merits of the cats and considers no other factors in their placements.
- Whether judge or exhibitor, both accepts constructive criticism.
- As an exhibitor, declines to enter or exhibit under a judge where it might reasonably appear that the judge's placements could be based on something other than the merits of the cats.
- As an exhibitor, refuses to compromise the impartiality of a judge.
- Knows and respects the registering organization's bylaws, rules, regulations and policies governing the sport of purebred cats.
- Finds that vigorous competition and civility are not
inconsistent; and are able to appreciate the merit of their
competition and the effort of competitors.
- Welcomes, encourages and supports newcomers to the sport.
- Will deal fairly with all those who trade with them.
- Are willing to share honest and open appraisals of both the strengths and weaknesses of their breeding stock.
- Spurns any opportunity to take personal advantage of positions offered or bestowed upon them.
- Always consider as paramount the welfare of their cat.
- Refuses to engage in behavior that might embarrass the sport, their registering organization,
or themselves while taking part in the sport.
I hope everyone in the fancy will take time to read and practice the new code and appreciate the value a Code of Sportsmanship adds to the experience of being a member of "the fancy." Enjoy!