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The Death of Sportsmanship

Posted on August 14, 2012 AT 10:12am

Remember when you were younger and you were taught sportsmanship? If you were in a sport you’d be required to shake/slap the hands of the opposing team as a way of saying “good game” even if you lost. You’d congratulate the person that won a spelling bee, even if they beat you. These small acts showed the world what you were made of, the type of person you were, your dignity and elegance even when on the losing end. Sportsmanship, such a simple concept and so easy to do but apparently, in the gaming world, it’s dead.

I am not referring to the overt harassment that has squirmed and oozed its way into the gaming community like a disease. I am talking about simple sportsmanship. The ability to say “good game” after a match you may have won or lost is sportsmanship. Not saying anything at all is another subtle example. Of course verbally abusing the opposing team is example of poor sportsmanship we all know, and the one that gets the most press, but there is another example of the “poor sport” that no one ever seems to talk about: the complaint filer.

Ah yes, the complaint filer, the most sneaky of all poor sports. This is the person that will decide it was completely unfair you beat them so you must have cheated. They will file a complaint with any entity that will listen and accuse you of a myriad of offenses, anything from aim bots to modded controllers, whatever they have decided you are guilty of. They just can’t ever imagine that their loss could be attributed to anything other than cheating. It’s like that kid that used to run to his mommy when you beat him at checkers has been reborn online.

Well gamers, I have some news for you, even the best player in the world has lost and been killed in-game. We all lose at some point. Maybe the other team has a slightly better connection to the server. We all know that server sync problems and lag will give one team and advantage over the other. I have been in games where the frame rates are ever so slightly off but just enough that the other person (or sometimes myself) are just a couple of milliseconds ahead in the game. And lag, well that is just evil and has been a huge problem in the Modern Warfare 3 games. Hey, thanks for taking off the Locale Only search, by the way. All internet speeds are not equal across the globe. Just something that needed pointing out.

Then there is just pure luck and skill. You will come up against people that have better twitch reflexes, better headsets, or have played more and just have better skill than you do. Sometimes you or they will just get plain lucky. I have killed  enemies with shots/grenades that I should never have been that lucky to get. It happens. Toss that grenade over a wall into unseen territory and get a stick? Pure luck. I am not cheating and neither are you, it’s just the gaming planets aligning for an instant.

Cheating does happen. I am not saying it doesn’t because even I have seen my fair share (like the guy that got four care packages after one kill on his team’s scoreboard). What I am saying just because you lost doesn’t mean people are cheating. I managed to beat an admitted cheater the other night. After a round of TDM in Modern Warfare 3, a voice came across the game chat… a whiny voice. This voice proclaimed I had cheated and I would be reported because there was no way I should have killed him. He had a rapid-fire mod on his controller and he shouldn’t have lost to me. Oh really? And I was the cheater? I didn’t respond to him because it was pointless to do so but to sit and admit you are cheating but accuse someone else of doing it is a great example of poor sportsmanship. I should point out his confession wasn’t news to me. My killcam showed a fully automatic Striker and MK14 at various points in the game. If you’re going to cheat this way, use your head, don’t use a single fire weapon. Sure they say semi-automatic but that is because you don’t have to reload after every shot.

My husband received a voice message a few weeks ago from a disgruntled player. This one declared he was reporting him to Activision and to enjoy what little time he had left on Xbox Live. He never stated how he felt my husband was cheating or why he thought Acitivision had control over Microsoft but he was angry he lost, that was abundantly clear.

I am not sure why this new version of poor sportsmanship reared its ugly head nor can I pinpoint when but when I joined Xbox Live four years ago, it was different. There were more people saying good games and joking around about various kill shots that were amazing. For some reason it all changed and not for the better. Gaming had already become a hostile environment and now, it is rife with temper tantrums and “I’m telling!”

I will put this out there for the world to see; I don’t cheat. I do not own a modded controller. I do not own a modded console of any type. It wouldn’t benefit me in any way to have one in my house. I would lose the respect I have gained in the gaming world and as a media voice. It would hurt me professionally and I am sorry but I cannot respect a K/D that I didn’t not earn honestly. So what if I am not the best player? I am content being one of the best players to game with.

Carly "PoisonPinkFluff" Frith is a little sugar, a little salt, and a whole lot of personality. Gamer, general geek and beer aficionado. Just call her a tomboy in high heels. She is on Twitter: @DN_PinkFluff.

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