Playing fair versus playing to win

Playing fair versus playing to win

What makes an athlete successful? Hard work, perseverance, heart, or just playing rough?

Art by Francis Tadeo

In every game, athletes always aim to execute their actions at the highest level; they aim to be in command of all situations and even use “power plays” to get an advantage over other players. Some call it foul play, but others call it “gulangan.”

Power play refers the actions that a player executes in a game in order to gain the upper hand, moves like an elbow to the body during a box out play, stepping on the shoe of your opponent, or a subtle push while a player is in the air whilst trying to go for the goal.

“It’s taking advantage of your rival. Players hurt other players physically in order to gain advantage of the game. It is also a way to [shake up] the ‘mental game’ of your opponent and make them lose their focus in the game,” Viktor Larano, a former player for Benilde Ultimate, the official Ultimate frisbee varsity team of the College, said in an interview.

For athletes and sports enthusiasts alike, there will be gulangan in most games. It may appear to seldom happen during possessions but it can occur in the smallest details of the game that are hidden under the untrained eye.

“[Even if gulangan] gives off a bad image to others and it somehow demoralizes players to play, sometimes it really [can’t] be avoided,” Tim Leachon, Benilde Ultimate team member and Multimedia Arts senior, explained.

To lessen the occurrence of gulangan, Benilde Ultimate coach Jasper Manlapaz proposed, “We should all move towards a less contact approach and really try to gravitate towards a more intellectual and more strategic oriented manner of playing.”

“Sports is really a way of [molding] a person’s personality after games. It’s the discipline to yourself on what you will do during a game,” Larano added.

Gulangan is consistently present as long as there’s competition, whether it may be as common as an elbow to the face or as rare as doing a sunback spike in Sepak Takraw. In the end, sports are supposed to promote camaraderie, teamwork, and respect towards the players, as well as the staff who regulate the game to keep the balance between the rivalry and competition.

As Manlapaz puts it, “You can only defeat your opponent by playing better than your opponent.”

This article was originally published in The Benildean Vol. 4 No. 1: Exploitation.


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