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Sample Speeches

Motion: Professionalism detracts from sportsmanship

Side: Negative
Opening speech of the captain
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
Having been enlightened by the affirmative side on the definition of the
motion, Id like to redefine it in a broader, more up-to-date way.
Professionalism refers to the practice of paying players who participate
in certain sports. More and more sports are becoming professional. Why?
Because paid players have the time to pursue excellence, in fitness and
ability to reach high levels of skill.
Id like to remind our opponents that professionalism also includes
setting up professional bodies and employing people who have expertise
of the profession, people like professional trainers.
The word sportsmanship involves both attitude and behavior. Dear
opponents, Ill shake hands with you, whether my team wins or loses.
That shows sportsmanship, right? But genuine sportsmanship goes
beyond gestures of courtesy. It refers to fairness, honesty and politeness
in a competition. Respect for the rules and for other players is important.
If we win this debate and gloat over our victory, we show poor
sportsmanship. If we lose and curse our opponents and adjudicators, we
also show poor sportsmanship. If we think we are likely to lose and give
up trying, thats poor sportsmanship too. Or if we resort to dirty tricks
like spying over our opponents, needless to say, poor sportsmanship
In defining sportsmanship, our opponent has missed one very important
point. Jill Oser says, sportsmanship is about competing and training and
getting to your peak ability. Please note the phrase getting to your peak
ability. This is precisely what professionalism helps players achieve.
Sportsmanship is seen and admired in professional games despite some

aberrations. Dont you admire the skill and sportsmanship of Pele? Not
many admire John McEnroe and enroll in His School of Sportsmanship,
do they?
Professionalism strengthens rather than detracts from sportsmanship.
Professional players win the game with their expertise; they need not fall
back on dirty play. Also, foul play endangers their livelihood, so
participants are less likely to do it and ruin their careers. Professional
bodies help lay down rules and ensure that players abide by these rules.
Professional trainers help sportsmen strengthen their expertise, thus
enabling them to perform to the best of their ability.
Even if the affirmative side thinks that sportsmanship is not always
practiced, we can tell you that there are many factors contributing to these
failures, factors like nationalism, ideology and pursuit of personal glory.
Professionalism is definitely NOT one of these factors.
Now lets look at the verb phrase detract from. It means diminish, make
less impressive. Professionalism means that sport is no longer the
privilege of an elite minority who do not need to earn an income. This
used to be the unfair, unsporting situation.
Professionalism enables many people to compete at a higher level in
sports because they are openly and honestly paid. They do not need a
private income to have the time to practice and reach a higher level. Nor
do they have to resort to involvement in dishonest, unsportsmanlike sham
The ideals of professionalism are also found in other walks of life where
they also enhance sportsmanship or fair play.
Professionalism does not diminish sportsmanship. It is simple logic that
great skill and high standards enhance fair play, honesty and excellence.

First speakers speech

Good afternoon,
Who is more admirable, Michael Jordan or God? A survey conducted on
500 American kindergarten children shows their preference. Michael
Jordan first, God second, if lucky. What makes them admire this
professional football player? His phenomenal performance in game 5 of
last years NBA Finals when he displayed the loftiest heights of
sportsmanship. Despite suffering from diarrhea and flu, he played and
played to support his teammates and thrilled the paying audience. At the
end of the game he could barely stand.
Michael Jordan also said, I am no longer so concerned about money
although it is important. As a professional player, I am an integral part of
the game. I cannot abandon my love for the sport. It is crystal clear that
his professionalism has by no means detracted his sportsmanship. On the
contrary, he has enhanced it.
Professionalism, besides enhancing sportsmanship in an individual
player, also promotes the virtues in the viewers. What makes Tiger Woods
an international icon? Yes, excellence, youth and ethnicity, but hard as it
may be to imagine, he is much more. In an age of commercially hyped,
trash-talking, in-your-face sports star, he is someone who combines great
athleticism with decency, politeness, respect, in short, sportsmanship.
Woods pride does not extend to the braggart denigration of the
competition and the naked promotion of self. He is a paragon, a
gentleman athlete that has touched many peoples hearts with his
graciousness. By the way, he is a professional.
Sporting behavior and professionalism does not lie only in decent attitude
towards a game. So you wish to conquer the French Open my friend? And
I too, what a fine thing that would be! But first mark the conditions and
the consequences of being professional, and then set to work. You will
have to put yourself under discipline, to eat by rule, to exercise at the
appointed hour, like it or not, in cold and heat. Then in the conflict itself
you are likely to dislocate your wrist or twist your ankle, or to be severely
thrashed, and above all these things, to be defeated. To meet the basic

requirements of being a professional, to willingly put yourself under this

drudgery, believe me, this is sportsmanship all right.
Admittedly, there are bad boys and girls on the battlefield. Andre Agassi
and Deion Sanders have mastered this very lucrative chest-beating glory
seeking. Dennis Rodman has taken it to his conclusion with his groinkicking, body-piercing anarchism. The bad boys, however, did not
transform into monsters once they turned professional. According to John
McEnroes coach, he was notorious as an amateur at playing tennis
instituted with his favorite (clasp) oh, Id better not say it here. But
apparently, his professionalism didnt aggravate his behavior, he was
already as bad as can be. Bad boys saw bad manners and quick tempers
as the ticket to celebrity. This is beyond professionalism.

Second speakers speech

Good afternoon,
Quite on the contrary, professionalism can in fact enhance and promote
sportsmanship. For example, in sports, rules and penalties are much
stricter in professional competitions when compared to amateur ones to
encourage fair play. May I ask if a higher level of fair play detracts from
sportsmanship. Surely it enhances sportsmanship. A professional body
also strictly monitors the participants, and disciplinary actions are taken
on professionals who fail to reach the standards of professionalism.
Lets look at the example of Doctor Bristols example of responsibility
towards a professional body. Again may I ask whether maintaining the
qualities and honorable conduct of a professional is detracting from or
enhancing sportsmanship? Some people have earned the title of
professional, through the standards, attitudes and qualities that they have
in their respective fields. In other words, the status, and respect that
professionals gain reflects trustworthiness, honesty, dependability, and the
capability to fulfill the responsibilities and demands of some professions,
which is: sportsmanship. So you see, being a professional is all about

having sportsmanship. How on earth, then, can professionalism detract

from sportsmanship if being sporting is what you need to be qualified as a
It is undeniable that personal glory is often present in a professional
athlete, but does this necessarily mean that it must take one to such an
extreme point that he chooses to violate the rules of his sport? On the
contrary, one would aim at a higher standard of sportsmanship in order to
achieve more popularity, approval, status and even money. What personal
glory has Dennis Rochman gained for his unimpressive display of
sportsmanship: a notorious reputation and a drop in salary is all hes
gained! Again, look at the personal glory Tiger Woods has gained for his
genuinely higher standard of sportsmanship. The pressure, attention and
expectations that professionals are under means that their livelihood
depends on how sporting they are. They cant afford dirty play thats
going to affect their livelihood. The fact is that dirty play does not build
up as you cross the line between amateurism and professionalism.

Summing up speech of the captain

Five minutes is not sufficient time to clarify the misconceptions of the
affirmative side, but Ill try to do it with professionalism and
First of all, the key word professionalism. Our opponents have confined
the interpretation of the word to the practice of paying players who
participate in certain sports. But we cant deny that professional bodies,
professional trainers and professional knowledge are also a form of
professionalism, and indeed, this form of professionalism strengthens
fairness and excellence. This point has been thoroughly elaborated and
reinforced by my team members.
Second, the other key word sportsmanship. Our opponents have two
problems here. One problem is their failure to understand that getting to
ones peak ability is a form of sportsmanship. Our team has illustrated

this point laboriously throughout this debate. The other problem is their
failure to see that sportsmanship is well and alive in professional sports.
Just to quote two recent examples. In the 1998 Semi-finals for the French
open, even though the chair-en-pire said the ball was out, Carlos Moya
insisted that it was in. All he wanted was a fair game. In the Finals, Alex
Correja was defeated by Moya. Instead of flinging his racket in anger and
disappointment, he leapt over the net to his opponent and congratulated
him, saying, Im so glad you won even though it meant I had to lose.
Isnt that sportsmanship demonstrated by professional players?
Third, the opposing team has quoted evidence of professional sportsmen
cheating in order to win. Let mw remind you that cheating and foul play
are not the monopoly of professional players. Many amateurs are found
guilty of dirty play. We should not be so biased as to say that honesty and
fairness are alien qualities to professional players.
To sum up, professionalism enhances rather than diminishes
sportsmanship. Professional sportsmen, with the pay they receive, can
afford the time to concentrate on sports as a career, and thus they can
perform to the best of their ability. They are less likely to break the rules
because of heavy penalties and repercussions on their careers. They are
more likely to behave sportingly to live up to the title of professional, and
they would also aim at a higher standard of sportsmanship in order to
gain more popularity, approval, status and money. Professional bodies lay
down rules to promote sportsmanship, and ensure that fairness is done to
all sportsmen. Professional trainers help sportsmen strive towards even
higher standards in sports, even breaking records. We have also given
evidence that professional sportsmen do practice sportsmanship, and if
sportsmanship is declining, it is due to other factors. Professionalism is
certainly NOT a factor.
Dear opponents, open your eyes and look around Arent the trainers of
our teams professional teachers? Arent the adjudicators professionals in
the field of English language training? We have no doublt about our
professional teachers helping us to perform to the best of our ability. We
have no doubt about our adjudicators ensuring fairness in this debate.
Their standards are those of professionals. We also have no doubt about
us debaters behaving with generosity and courtesy, whether we win or

not. Here is an example of professionalism enhancing sportsmanship,

brought to you live.