The sporting gentleman

Good day,

The Commonwealth Games are upon us, and what has become immediately apparent is that gentlemanly diligence and demeanour seems to have left sport. When competing, a gentleman must always act in a gentlemanly manner.

I know what you are saying: “But surely a gentleman doesn’t cycle or wrestle or play most of the sports held at the Commonwealth games!”. This is true, and so we will cast these so-called ‘sports’ aside and refer only gentlemanly sports. These are golf, tennis, billiards and cricket.

Rule 1: Never vent your frustration on your opponents, the umpire or the crowd. It is important to keep your composure even when your opponent’s putter looks a little larger than regulation size.


Hitting the ball at a camera-man is not considered gentlemanly no matter how classy the cardigan-vest.


Rule 2: Offensive language is never to be used. Instead, try saying “what a load of bully” or “Gordon Bennet!” (c.f. Gentlemanly Vocabulary Sept. 21 2010).


Rod Laver receiving the Cup for Most Gentlemanly Behaviour, despite being defeated in the first round.


Rule 3: Be gracious to your opponent no matter whether you win or lose. A friendly handshake and a nice scotch together after the game means everyone is a winner.


W.G. Grace would make a point of individually having a glass of scotch with each member of the opposition team after a day’s play. Often he’d insist on having one with the umpires, coach, 12th man and most of the crowd as well.


Rule 4: Always act on the sporting field as you would act in the company of your closest friends. A hearty joke or a display of goodwill to your opposition should be as much a part of sport as the racquet or the moustache.


Walter Lindrum beat this painting of himself every time they played, but the games were always played in good spirits with plenty of friendly conversation in between shots.


And so there you have it friends, follow these four simple rules and you will be a far greater sportsman than many of the modern day ‘sportsmen’ prancing around today.

And with that, I wish you good sporting.

H.L. Griffith