BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As March Madness heats up this week, a new survey shows that attitudes toward sports is more mild than mad.
Nashville-based Lifeway Research found that 52 percent of Americans describe their philosophy of sports by saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose — it’s how you play the game.”
“Adults even that are not parents say no, that really is what sports is about. There’s more to life than just winning, and there’s more to sports than just winning,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
The survey, conducted from September 27 – October 1, 2016, found that less than 1 percent say when it comes to sports, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying.”
“We’ve definitely heard that around sports that you need to do everything you can to win, but less than one percent of Americans actually say that embodies them,” McConnell said.
Only 7 percent subscribe to the belief that,” Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
“In the heat of competition, it does seem like it’s the only thing, and part of competing, well, is to really try to do your best to win, but at the same time knowing that this fits into life , it’s only one slice of life,” McConnell added.
When asked whether good sportsmanship is rarely exhibited in American sports today, half of the survey’s 1000 respondents agreed, while the other half disagreed.
”Definitely in our culture we like the ones who do it the right way, but it sure seems like a lot of attention goes to those who actually win,” said McConnell.
The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent, found that younger millennials are least likely to say good sportsmanship is rare.
Only 37 percent of 18-to-24 year olds believe sportsmanship is missing compared to 51 percent of all other Americans, according to the survey.
McConnell says the win-at-all-costs attitude doesn’t seem to resonate with most.
“I think that’s a good reminder in a week that we’re going to get pretty excited and have some fun watching some games, but most Americans kind of keep that in perspective,” he said.