Sporting Spirit Commentary

In today’s competitive sports atmosphere, every sportsman is being supported by a school, club, state or nation. George Orwell’s’ ‘The Sporting Spirit’ is an essay which looks at the effect that national proud plays on sport, where Orwell states that various sporting events can trigger violence between groups instead of creating goodwill between them. The main idea that Orwell is trying to demonstrate is that simply, “sport is an unfailing cause of ill-will.” He develops this idea throughout the essay by giving numerous examples, making comparisons and going through the causes of this idea.

Orwell says that “the 1936 Olympic Games show how international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred.” Here, Orwell uses a compares the Olympic Games to a large violent crowd fuelled by hate, or an “Orgy of Hatred”. These three words further emphasis the aggression that arises during sport, as it compares sport to a large group of people who have violent intentions towards each other.

Orwell then states that “the significant thing is not the behaviour of the players but the attitude of the spectators: and, behind the spectators, of the nations who work themselves into furies over these absurd contests”. Orwell uses the coordinating subjunction’s ‘but’ and ‘and’ to balance the sentence out and to shift the blame from the players to the crowd. He says that the reason that these games are so heated is because of the onlookers who would become extremely fiery over these games and that they would also influence the game, making it almost pointless. He concludes that “as soon as strong feelings of rivalry are aroused, the notion of playing the game according to the rules always vanishes”, and gives examples such as he saw supporters once break through police and disable a goalkeeper and about how big football matches lead to uncontrollable riots. These real life examples add to the legitimacy of his argument of the influence onlookers can have on the game. Orwell is trying...