Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Miss Manners: I’m sick of bad sports etiquette

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Dear Miss Manners: Are people oblivious, misinformed, narcissistic, or just plain rude when it comes to sports etiquette? From golf to the gym, these outings are becoming less and less enjoyable.

Slow players on the golf course – whether a large group or a small group playing several balls per person – will not let others play, even when asked. Or someone will simply be sitting at a gym machine, playing on their phone, while a queue forms. When I ask her if I can use the machine, she says, “I still have two devices,” then looks at her phone.

I’m sure others have had worse experiences when it comes to bad sports etiquette. Even complaining to management doesn’t change anything.

And think that sport was once considered a training ground for etiquette. Yes really. Think about the elements of etiquette that are applied in sports: dress codes, respect for authority, kindness in victory or defeat, sanctions for breaking the rules, etc.

Haven’t seen much of that on the playing fields lately? Or in the stands? Alas no. Rather than being an example of sportsmanship, the world of sport, both professionally and personally, is becoming more like the rest of society, as you have observed. Competition is more satisfying when it takes place against opponents you respect. Miss Manners hopes that parents of young athletes and leaders of teams and gyms will find it in their interests to revive old norms and prohibit petty behavior.

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I are planning to sell our house and move into an apartment. The timing is tricky as we hope to sell our house before the apartment is finished. A close friend asked me what we would do if our house didn’t sell. I told him we preferred to be optimistic. She then told me about a friend of hers who was trying to sell his house, but had four failed offers.

I thought her question and the story she told were both irrelevant. How should I respond if she continues to ask these questions?

“Well, I guess if we can’t sell the house on time, we will have to give up the apartment. However, we would keep the house on the market and in the meantime I thought we would move in with you! It’s so good to know that we can always count on the kindness of our friends.

Dear Miss Manners: How do you address a former President of the United States? It seems to me that there is only one president at a time; therefore, the title should not accompany anyone outside of their duties.

You are right. Almost no one else does, including former presidents.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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