At this year’s press conference announcing Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley’s second win of the NBA Sportsmanship Award, the questions from the press were downright nostalgic.
“What in today’s game defines sportsmanship?” one reporter asked. “Maybe you don’t see guys do it as much anymore.” Another complained about players’ public behavior. “You don’t see guys nowadays—you’ve done it, but—they don’t compliment each other through the media anymore.”
When we think of sports science and technology, the physics of a curveball or weave of a carbon-fiber shoe might come to mind—the hardware. But there is also a high technology, of sorts, in the software of sport. Without it, would we understand sportsmanship, and what it means to love playing more than winning?
In a society that is driven by competition at every level, and is made up of people who use play to help define themselves, that is a valuable contribution. It’s enough to make you wistful.
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