The sportsman seemed to be a revered person just 100 years ago in the US.
Today, I’m not sure if it’s a sought after aspect of life.
I totally get it. We have so much more technology today than we did 100-150 years ago. Even as the Industrial Revolution was taking over people in the US were still going west to the frontier.
They were living a rugged life. And then into the middle part of the 20th century the western craze hit and people still looked to western heroes and sportsman as examples of good human qualities.
Along with technology I think another aspect of life that arose in the US in the 20th century that took away from sportsmen was team sports.
Baseball became hugely popular and was aided by radio. Football took over baseball especially with the increase in TV exposure.
Basketball was never far behind. Hockey remains a great team game to watch in person.
We’re not going backwards. Technology is only going to take up more of our attention. But maybe there is a balance to using technology and still connecting with nature and being sportsman…
What Is A Sportsman?
The definition seems to vary. Some say that a sportsman is a man or woman that takes part in sport. Some say it’s any athlete. That obviously includes team sports.
But other definitions say that a sportsman is a hunter or angler. Someone that spends time outdoors partaking in very traditional sports or survival activities.
Then I guess there is the idea of sportsmanship, which would be the act of playing fair and respecting other competitors.
Part of it all seems to be morals and almost like a credo. Living to a certain set of values not set necessarily by anyone else or a of a governing body, but by oneself.
I think that’s part of the reason people admired those western heroes in film. Those drifters that didn’t really listen to the rules of anyone other than themselves. They were fair to others, but if you crossed them they would defend themselves and others.
I guess in my view a sportsman is still someone that partakes in hunting and fishing. Maybe hiking and other outdoor activities. Things that tend to be individual activities. Maybe you could even throw golf in the mix.
It could be my background. I loved team sports growing up and I still watch some today, but hunting and fishing was always part of my life. Probably due to living in Wisconsin where hunting and fishing are heavily engrained throughout life.
There is good and bad news in the sportsman world.
Hunting continues to be on the decline, but wildlife watching is on the rise. I’m a fan of wildlife and definitely like watching. In fact, most of the hours I spend hunting are spend watching wildlife. The shooting part is minute compared to watching.
But what about the younger generations?
One survey found that children today spend only half the time outdoors compared to their parents.
The thing about it is that we know that being outdoors is good for our health. In that survey above about 90% of parents said they want their kids to spend time outside.
We instinctively know that it’s good for us and the data backs it up.
Harvard found all kinds of benefits of spending time outside:
- Increased Vitamin D
- Better Fitness
- Better Mood
- Better Concentration
- Better Healing Ability
Additional Values of Being a Sportsman
I can also attest to the outdoors contributing to my own growth. I’m no perfect person, but I’ve looked up to sportsman including family and friends.
I’ve learned life lessons. How to treat others. How to be self aware of your own abilities. Patience. All kinds of important things.
I’ve learned values. What is important to me. What is important to others. Respect for yourself and for others and for nature.
Being a sportsman can also help build your moral compass. Sympathizing with nature. Taking care of nature. Sportsman have been, in my experience, some of the best stewards of nature. They try to be one with nature. They take, but they also give. And usually they give an incredible amount more to nature than they take.
Obviously a lot of people spend time outdoors. Hunting and fishing are still major parts of life for many Americans. But the time spent outdoors is decreasing. Will future generations be more interested in phones than hunting, fishing and watching wildlife? Perhaps… And I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing.
All I know is that being a sportsman has value. It’s something to consider if you’re looking for more purpose in life.