by Clare Devine, M.S.A.,
Coordinator, Campus Programming, ISSCD
The spirit of sportsmanship and competition is often challenged with the mixture of deep seated rivalries or seemingly ill-placed overly aggressive play. You might have the right intentions when you step on the field or court and before competing against a team or athlete with whom you have a checkered history, you may even give yourself and/or your teammates a pep talk that you’re not going to “play down” to “their” level if things start getting heated. But we humans are an interesting bunch when pushed to our limits. The fact is that, no matter how we deflect and respond to button-pushing as it crosses the line to lid-explosion, our names are forever etched in that moment – whether we rose to the challenge in a rational manner or if we gave way to our emotions.
As athletes, we are called to be true competitors in every sense – to train to our potential (including care for our minds, bodies and spirits), to learn the game and the lessons we have received, to play with passion, to share the game with others, and to respect our teammates, coaches, and competitors. Strong competition is what makes us better and the game better. Just look at how many people become “fans” just at March Madness time; people tend to pay attention to the tightly matched games because they are yearning for the inspiration which can only be created between two strong opponents who push each others limits.
Watch this short clip as an introduction to ESPN’s recent 30 for 30 work on the amazing rivalry and friendship which grew between Tennis greats – Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova – who could not have accomplished their individual success without their deep-rooted competition:
film summary w/ clip: ESPN’s 30 for 30 – Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova
short clip: ESPN’s 30 for 30 – Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova
We can articulate values towards which we strive in life, but when pushed to cross a line, remember these words from Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.