[January 7, 2020] Never heard of them? Me either. The reason that I’m highlighting them today is due to their philosophy of good sportsmanship. Specifically, they advocate for fair chase hunting in support of habitat conservation.1 The club was founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt; before his Rough Rider days or before becoming President of the U.S.2
The fair chase idea is an honor code, usually identified with North American hunters and for over a century. The concept of a code of conduct is one that predates human written history. We find it well documented in the earliest known writings and often see its development throughout the Egyptian empire and Greek city-states. On my leadership blog’s pages, I’ve written about such codes on several occasions (for example, see links here, here, and here).
“Good sportsmanship goes beyond the game; it starts with respect.” – Tommy Hilfiger, American fashion designer
Sportsmanship, we are told today, is an antiquated, useless concept. Often, we’re asked why anyone should not take any advantage when competing against the other team or commercial company. Winning is everything. The end justifies the means and sportsmanship gets in the way. Too many times, this is what we hear from professional sports players, pundits, and also from senior company executives.
Sportsmanship is more than adhering to the rules. It’s more than proper etiquette and more than respecting others. Good sportsmanship is taught to children and those engaging in hunting, fishing, and other gaming sports. The application of sportsmanship is about ethical behavior that carries over into other aspects of life.
Those who gloat when his team wins, cheat, sabotage the other team, or loses one’s temper are upsetting general social rules of behavior. Those rules are essential for many reasons, mainly for the smooth operation of day to day life. It also represents mature behavior that closely parallels reliability, fairness, honor, and integrity. Players who show good sportsmanship are rightly given the trust and confidence of everyone.
Leaders, like Theodore Roosevelt, believe that those who believe in and show good sportsmanship – regardless of the venue – are valued members of their community. They are given more responsibility, respect, rewards, and also more significant opportunities. Good leadership means good sportsmanship.
- In other words, the game being hunted has not been artificially disadvantaged in some way. The large game is required to be “wild and free-ranging.” Wild refers to an animal that is naturally bred and lives in nature. Free-ranging means artificial barriers do not confine an animal.