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Friday, 23 March 2012

There is a Bounty on your Soul

There’s a Fine Line in Love and Sports

The recent ‘outing’ of the New Orleans Saints bounty Programme (if you have not heard about it – basically players were given bonuses to deliberately ‘take out’ opposition players – often named star individuals) is another in the increasing occurrences of the blurring of the line between the win at all costs attitude that is common in professional sports, and the reason why we all started sports in the first place – it is Fun.

"I'm Sorry..........     I got caught"
Many will tell you that the W is all that counts, that you must do whatever it takes to ensure you or your team finishes on top.  It is this attitude that makes people do strange things.  Now that he has been caught, the Saints coach has apologized, and has spoken about his extreme respect fr the NFL.  Yawn – I hate that kind of approach….  If you know are going to apologize – then just don’t do it…..  If you are going to do it – then at least have the decency to feign apology and just admit that you had a lack of respect for the sport and that it was more important for you to get the win.

Neil Back’s deliberate foul to win the Heineken Cup, Dean Richards command to instigate Bloodgate, football’s (soccer) insane love of the act of play-acting, Antonio Margarito (or his trainer) adding weight inside his boxing gloves, horses getting juiced, weightlifters taking power enhancing drugs, Ben Johnson, Lance Armstrong (or not), Bill Bellicheck’s secret video taping – it’s a pandemic in world sports (I blame Boris Onichenko) and the growth is pretty much exponential.

When owners and leaders invest so much energy into beating the next (and every other) guy – when Sir Clive Woodward’s aggregation of marginal gains theory is espoused as gospel – of course people are going to push the boundaries of what is respectful.  If you can get away with it and you earn that win – then HEH – it must be worth it……

For me – you cannot be more WRONG…..

If you cannot admit to others what you are doing, if you cannot admit to yourself even without feeling the need to apologize if others find out – then you are not acting in the right way.  Sports is one of the most popular pastimes in the world – and certainly one of the most powerful for cultural change – as the youth are invariably taking part and influenced by the elite at the top of the structure…. 

Jolly Good Sport
As such, it should be carried out in the right way – with a smile on your face, with sweat at your brow (a lot!), with determination to compete (and ideally win) pulsing through your blood (not secret powder X), and with respect in your heart.  Show the way to others, show the light in the future and be a positive influence on your world.

There is a lot to be said for knowing in your heart that you acted in the right way.  A superbowl ring on your finger is a heavy weight – but you will carry an even heavier burden if you know that you obtained it via means fair AND foul.

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