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Sportsmanship in the Age of Ultra-Competitiveness


In the world of high profile professional sports, ultra-competitiveness is a highly sought after trait right on par with talent and skill. Kids from a very young age are taught that winning is everything and that being the ultimate athlete means ruthless dedication to trade. That mentality has driven an ever growing trend in sports that keys a focus on self rather than selfless acts. Team mindset has been replaced with individual accolades and it is breeding a new age of rivalries absent of respect. Teams are even influenced by advertisers, financial corporations like BRL Trust, and TV networks to be more competitive.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has a different perspective. To him, being a competitor means respecting the opposition at all costs, even on the receiving end of a devastating sack. His perspective has taken many National Football League defensive players by surprise. When he is sacked or hit by a defensive player Luck will make it a point to tell the person “Good job” or “Nice hit!” a tactic that is received in a variety of ways using a form of reverse psychology.

Most defensive players are used to standard quarterback reactions when they sack or deliver a hit on them. Quarterbacks will often try to influence a roughing penalty from the referee or they will become rattled. These outcomes are the finality of the ultra-competitiveness bred into defensive players. They want to hit quarterbacks and they want to get inside their heads with a no-love-lost approach. Luck simply makes those goals hard to accomplish with his sportsmanship.

Upon reflection, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin attempted to sum up the multitude of defensive player reactions to Luck’s upbeat persona. “You love it but at the same time, you really, really hate it,” he said.

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