Why Sports Are Important For Gentlemen: The Spirit of Sportsmanship

Why Sports Are Important For Gentlemen: The Spirit of Sportsmanship

Being an investment banker living in the heart of New York City has its perks – stable and more than enough income, friends in high places, vacations wherever you want, designer shoes, suits, and watches, and not to mention the spectacular view in my office which showcases the beauty of New York’s one and only Empire State Building.

As an investment banker who works in an office for the most part, it’s easy for me to be entangled with hectic schedules, various meetings, and business trips all over the world. Which is why being active and staying fit is non-negotiable. It helps me stay on top of the game.

While being physically healthy is one of the main goals in playing sports, it wouldn’t hurt to impress the people around me, would it? These days, conducting business isn’t limited to the four corners of an office. In fact, I’ve had an experience where I closed a major deal over a game of golf.

There was a time when I had to meet with a business partner and discuss a deal over a game of golf at one of the most expensive golf memberships in the world – The Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. The golf course is about an hour away from New York, so my Audi R8 is perfect for the smooth roads and the fresh air.

When I got on the site, my business partner reached out his hand and introduced himself as Mr. Smith. He is a dapper man in his late 50s – cropped black hair combed to perfection, brown crinkly eyes, and his grin revealed a perfect set of teeth. He looked like a model straight out of GQ magazine.

Other than his impressive exterior, I immediately noticed that he exuded a quiet confidence – something I hope other people notice in me as well. Despite being the company’s vice president, Mr. Smith was respectful and kind. He was able to make me feel comfortable and at ease.

A long story cut short, I was able seal the deal with the Mr. Smith, making my boss very happy. Plus, I get to play in one of the most expensive golf courses in the world! If that situation happened to me, it could very well happen to you too.

Top 5 Sports Every Gentleman Should Know About

With that said, in the event a business partner invites you for golf during Sundays, you must at least look the part and well, play the part. As a die-hard sports fan, it is imperative to learn the basics of the top five sports every gentleman needs to know about.

In the banking industry, being surrounded by the rich and famous definitely has its perks, but it also has its downsides. Knowing how to play these top five sports gives you an upper hand. It gets you on with the ladies, impresses your business partners, and at the same time playing sports teaches you how to be a team player and how to compete healthily with other people – a skill needed in the ever-changing world of business. I hope my sporting insights let you know a thing or two about the sports for gentlemen.

1.   Tennis

Tennis was invented by the French and has been around since the 12th century. It’s actually funny because instead of using tennis rackets, they used loaves of bread. And the winning team has the honor of taking the opponent’s bread as ‘spoils of war’.

One of the reasons why tennis is a gentleman’s sport is that it’s attractive. Generally, women find athletes or sportsmen more attractive but not every sport is equal. Playing tennis displays your skill and elegance and you don’t even have to play like Roger Federer to get people to notice you. You just have to know your game and cover the basics.

Ever heard of the Grand Slam? Of course, you have. The annual Grand Slam, or also known as Majors, houses four world-class tennis tournaments – The Australian Tennis Open held every first month of the year. It has been that ways since 1905; followed by the French Open during May and June; Wimbledon in July; and last but not the least, the US Open in August and September.

2.   Golf

This may not come as a surprise to you but playing a round of golf is something that every gentleman should know about – not just Tiger Woods. Businesspeople play golf during their past time. Since golf is a steadier pace, it appeals the masses. And it’s not just a sport – it’s a valuable networking tool. Trust me, try playing golf in your local golf course and you’ll notice a lot of prominent people playing or simply hanging out.

It has been said that the golf we know today can be traced all the way back to the 15th century in Scotland. Believe it or not, it was actually banned there for a number of years because it was interfering with archery practice. Recently, golf made a comeback for the first time in 112 years in the Rio Olympics.

If there’s one thing you need to perfect when it comes to golf, it’s the famous golf swing. However, it is one of the most complicated to master because there are a lot of factors to consider that will affect the strike and ball flight. Even though it’s a bit complicated, it is never too hard for a sporting gentleman.

3.   Badminton

Badminton was developed during the 18th century in British India. Since then, badminton has been a sport loved by everyone. It is an indoor game perfect for people who hate the outdoors. It requires precision and endurance, ensuring that the shuttlecock lands perfectly on the opponent’s side of the court.

The basic rule of badminton is to score points as you hit the shuttlecock over the net with a badminton racket so it lands on your opponent’s side. While there are similarities between badminton and tennis – both games use rackets, both have similar courts, and each sport has singles and doubles, there are also numerous differences. The ball used in tennis is called a tennis ball, while you have to use a shuttlecock for badminton. Another difference is the size of the court. Tennis is larger than a badminton court – 36 feet wide and 78 feet long, as opposed to badminton’s 20 feet wide and 44 feet long court. Not to mention the rackets used. Tennis rackets are bigger and heavier than badminton rackets.

4.   Fencing

Fencing isn’t just a sport of royals, any gentleman can learn to fence too. It is a combination of amalgamation of violence and a chivalry – a trait every gentleman should acquire. It’s not easy to pick up a weapon and pit yourself against a fellow gentleman, but learning how to fence will help you step up your game and become a true, rich, gentleman.

From the pristine white uniforms to the silver swords, fencing is a sport set apart for the dignified and sophisticated. Not only is fencing called a gentleman’s sport, it has also been dubbed as a sport of royalty. Fencing was practiced by generations of European royalties as well as other members of the upper class.

The sport originated in the early 15th century where kings were the head of their armies, so it was only natural that they practice fencing. Years have passed and the sport has evolved since then. It is proven to be more than just fighting with swords. It is all about the finesse and the technicality involved in the whole process that has made fencing very different from what it was in the battlefield hundreds of year ago.

5.   Skiing

What better way to enjoy heaps of snow in the mountains rather than skiing? There is nothing more exhilarating than sliding down snowy mountains. Alpine skiing, simply known as skiing, originated as a club sport during 1861 in Australia as well as in North America, and the Swiss Alps.

In the modern days, alpine skiing is more common. There are hundreds of ski resorts scattered all over the United States, but you might want to try Aspen Snowmass in Colorado. It’s one of the most luxurious ski resorts in North America. The town is even known as a magnet for the rich and famous. If you’re looking for great food, sights, and amazing ski experience, you should definitely try Aspen Snowmass. The total cost of one day/night stay would be $486.61 USD.

It’s common to confuse skiing from snowboarding as they are somehow similar since they’re both played in the snow. But the main difference between skiing and snowboarding is the equipment being used. For snowboarding, you only use a single, solid board. In skiing, on the other hand, two boards are used. Also, snowboarders use their bodies to navigate down the slope, while skiers use skies.

6.   Sailing

Sailing is definitely a sport for rich gentlemen. There is a different appeal to sailors that you can’t just help but admire because sailing not only requires strength and skill, but also a deep understanding of the elements that bend water and wind to do your bidding with the help of ropes and pieces of canvas.

Wealthy people love to invest on boats as it is useful for vacations, for relaxation, and maybe even for intense boat racing competitions on the ocean. Plus, it definitely shows off the wealth and status of a person. If you’re planning on buying a boat, it is usually priced between $50,000 to $200,000, depending, of course, on the make and size. Also, get ready to pay for boat crews, maintenance, yacht club fees, boat storage costs, and more.

Despite the costs of owning a boat, there is nothing better than taking the weekend off, sailing in the middle of the calm ocean and feeling the cool breeze on your face. Whether you’re into yachts or catamarans, owning a boat definitely steps up your game making you a true sporting gentleman.

7.   Polo

Dubbed as the ‘sport for kings’, polo is considered to be one of the oldest team sports in history. The first record of Polo was over two thousand years ago. It was first played by nomadic warriors in Central Asia. So, how is a sport that’s played by nomads become a gentleman’s sport? Polo was modified by the 19th century cavalry officers into a respectable sport for the British aristocracy.

Since then, it has gained popularity among other noble and respected people all over the world and it has been played in over 70 countries. It is known for its sophistication and glamor since the players on the playing field are very well-dressed.

The Audi Polo Challenge is one of the most exclusive events in the social calendar. Their Royal Highness, Prince Harry and Prince William, host and participate in this annual charity event and battling it out in the playing field. The event is held every year in Cowarth Park. This year’s Audi Polo Challenge has over 300 guests including prominent stars, Emma Stone, Meghan Markle, Luke Evans, and Gemma Arterton.

The Benefits of Sports

Aside from looking good and widening your social circle, you can actually improve your health at the same time.

A banker’s life is mostly spent on researching the stock market, attending to clients, and facing the computer for about seven hours. This lead to a bunch of health concerns – I felt so sluggish, I felt tired and the lack of energy is very evident. Once I started noticing these changes, I was adamant about changing my lifestyle. I decided to squeeze in a little exercise in the mornings. My favourite would be a quick run in The Central Park Loop. I’ve always loved to feel the cool air on my skin. But if I’m short on time, I’d do a 15-minute stretch as soon as I wake up. Exercising helps me feel energized and ready to start my day!

To be honest, I haven’t been this mindful about my health but as I gradually noticed a positive change, I never looked back. I had more energy, I was happier and enthusiastic about work – my overall wellbeing changed for the better.

Does your job require you to be cooped up in the office all day? It’s never too late to change your lifestyle for the better and become a true gentleman who knows how to take care of himself. Still not convinced? Here are some of the benefits you get from exercising:

  • Mental Health

Playing sports can help you improve your mental health. These are the following benefits you’ll reap from physical exercise:

  • Boost Self-Confidence

The regular exercise brought about by playing sports boosts your confidence and improve your self-esteem. The way you look at yourself changes your skills, strength, and stamina improves. This sense of self is what makes you a gentleman of dignity and respect.

With your renewed strength and vigor, you are more confident to interact with other people and succeed in the tasks at hand – in or out of the playing field.

  • Improves Concentration

Growing old is inevitable, but regular physical exercise helps you maintain, if not improve, your cognitive skills as you age. Preventing dementia and other debilitating diseases. Playing sports involves critical thinking – how you strike the next move, learning and using good judgment.

  • Lessens Stress and Pressure

Exercising releases happy hormones that enable you to loosen up and lessen stress. By playing sports, you can network with other people that can benefit you or your company.

  • Physical Health

Aside from an obvious improvement in mental health, your physical health will improve as well:

  • Weight Management

Being a gentleman means you look after yourself physically and emotionally. Obesity is one of the major issues that is facing millions of people all over the globe. The good news is that you can combat obesity by playing sports and engaging in physical activity. You won’t even notice that you’re exercising because you enjoy what you do. People who play sports on a regular basis tend to be leaner and fitter than those who don’t.

  • Healthy Heart

Regular exercise promotes a healthy body and a healthy heart. It lowers the risk of heart problems and complications as it helps the heart pump more blood. You know what they say, a healthy gentleman is a classy gentleman.

  • Muscle Toning

Looking to improve your physical appearance? Sports is one of the best ways to work out those biceps. As a gentleman, not only should you look good in a suit, but you should also look good without it. Toned, defined muscles naturally show when you regularly play sports.

As a gentleman, looking good is not even an option – it’s a way of life. Charisma is what attracts other people. By playing sports, you feel good about yourself and your overall being improves. And trust me, people around you will notice this improvement and will marvel at your confidence.

The Spirit of Sports: Sportsmanship

I have observed that making money and excelling in the business world requires a businessman to network with different types of people. The spirit of sports – sportsmanship can help you with that and my experience with Mr. Smith can attest to it.

As we were on the last leg of the game, Mr. Smith came up to me and said that he was willing to invest in our company. He then proceeded to tell me the reason. He believes that in order to know a person, you have to observe them closely.

Before the game, he told me that he observed the way I organized my golf equipment and club bag, as well as how I presented myself. According to him, everything was neat and in order. He was quite pleased with his initial observation. He was impressed at my attention to detail, which he believes is important in the business world.

During the game, he observed how I would react when I miss a ball. Thankfully, I kept my cool and proceeded with a smile on my face. It gave him an impression that I am able to stay calm in times of pressure, and that I can face any situation with dignity and grace.

After the game, he observed the way I handle a win. He was very pleased with the fact that I wasn’t smug about it. For him, this meant that I am a type of person that’s cool, calm, and collected. Someone whom he would definitely love to work with in the business industry.

Core Values of Sportsmanship

The core values of sportsmanship is the epitome of being a gentleman. By playing sports, these top five traits will be a part of your daily lifestyle without you even trying.

  • Preparedness

Your preparedness is an early indication of whether you win the game or not. Consequently, the lack of preparation means you’ll that there is a higher chance of losing – and vice versa. The same goes in the business world – preparation is key to success. Whether it’s preparing for a business meeting or a presentation, being prepared will set you for greatness.

  • Cooperation

Playing team sports strengthens you team spirit. You need to cooperate with your team members and work together in order to win. Just like in the business industry, employees must be working towards one goal – business growth and development.

  • Motivation

Your motivation is what helps you keep fighting in order to win a game. In turn, you apply that same motivation to help your company succeed in every endeavour, investment, and venture.

  • Humbleness

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.” And I couldn’t agree more. Losing is part of sports – it’s part of playing a game. In the business industry, on the other hand, losses happen too – your investments might not be returned or your business may go bankrupt. And in that state of loss is where humbleness creeps up and realizations come through. This really helps you stay grounded even when win a game or succeed in your business venture. The feeling of a loss, being in your lowest of lows helps you realize that everything just comes and goes.

  • Elegance

Being mindful of your style, appearance, and manner, is what it means to become elegant. Playing sports with highly successful people teaches you to be attentive at what you wear, how you speak, and how you portray yourself. Same goes in the business world, being professional equates to elegance. You have to handle pressures and deadlines in the workplace with unspeakable grace and elegance because that is what it means to be a true gentleman.

Being a businessman in a competitive industry, you can easily get lost in a sea of competition. The pressure to be the best among the best lingers and you can’t seem to shake it off. The spirit of sports helps you unwind and learn how to put team goals ahead of your personal goals. It inspires you to become the best version of yourself. Indeed, playing sports will definitely bring out the gentleman in you.

 

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