Sport, in many ways mimics life. The harder you train for your sport, the better you get. The better you get, the higher level you achieve amongst your peers. The better you are able to combine your talents with those of your peers, the more success your team will achieve. It is not difficult to correlate sport to the working world, and thus sport has long been a good teaching tool for children. The lessons learned on the playing field as a child, both good and bad, will translate to the offices and factories of tomorrow.
As real life has laws, and consequences for ignoring them, sport has rules. Proponents (myself included) of the notion that organized sport remains a good vehicle with which to teach our children values and life lessons took another hit on the chin last month with the suspension of football uber star Tom Brady. For those of you who may have missed it, or those of you who may not care about football, Brady was ostensibly caught knowingly gaining an advantage ( with the help of a locker room attendant nicknamed the ‘Deflator’!) over an opponent by deflating his footballs to levels outside those deemed acceptable by the NFL. Brady broke the rules, got caught, and will now pay the price – be it by way of suspension, or more hopefully, loss of reputation. As of this writing, he has yet to acknowledge responsibility nor apologize for his actions. Remorse, if genuine would be great. When professional athletes or other popular figures apologize, they more often than not seem less sorry, than sorry they got caught.
Some would argue that professional sport stars should not be held to the same account as the little leagues we sign our kids up for, as though somehow the fact that fortunes are being made bends the boundaries of integrity. Unfortunately, our children – and too often their parents for that matter- emulate their heroes. If there is a general acceptance of the famous Eddie Guerrero quote ‘ if you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying’, it is not likely to be without consequence to real life.
Integrity does not bend of course, and just like you cannot be a little bit pregnant, you cannot have a little bit of integrity. You either have it or you don’t. The sporting world unfortunately, seems to have taken a turn toward favouring victory over honour. We shouldn’t be surprised if our children learn that lesson as well.
Thanks for reading,