Sportsmanship

Where is the approach to games and sports that leaves the spectators with a feeling of fulfillment having left the arena satisfied that the better man has prevailed; the winner has won “fair and square”?

Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors.

That spirit was not demonstrated by batsman Darren Bravo in “Match 25” of the 2015 Hero Caribbean Premier League T20, batting for Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel against Barbados Tridents at Queen’s Park, Port of Spain on Jul 16, 2015 

This is how the match-commentator penned the incident: “In the 16.6 over, Holder bowls to DM Bravo, no run, on a length which was pitched way down leg and moving across. Bravo moves away to the leg and gets an edge back towards the keeper to that slog; keeper and Holder appeal for the catch and even Bravo initially walks off but drags his steps back; umpire misses that horribly.”

Darren Bravo knew he edged the ball; started doing the honorable thing – walking back to the pavilion; he suddenly decided to take advantage of “the no-decision” by the presiding umpire and walked back to the wicket.

Horrible!  This was a serious deviation from the sacred tradition of sportsmanship established in the sporting arena by our generations of West Indian cricketers – Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle, just to name a few.

Surprisingly, the reporters and newspapers seemed more inclined to increase their readership with a sensational story rather than report on the facts, as was the case of the Guyana Starbroek News, 17 July 2015, which reported: “Bravo’s thrilling 80 off 44 balls helped the Red Steel to an imposing total of 184-4 having won the toss and elected to bat. Bravo began his innings relatively slowly, scoring 36 off his first 32 balls before exploding at the death to blitz 44 from his final 12 deliveries. He ended up hitting seven sixes including one huge 108-meter heave over the leg-side. 

Sportsmanship does not seem to have currency anymore. It seems that the “general will,” caught up with the sensation is often swept away by consumer demand and not by the quality of the product. Paul the Apostle teaches …”anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5, NIV)

Unfortunately when we are at our weakest point, when we are faced with adversity, when we have reached our extremities – we either lose our capacity to effectively deal with the pressure of the situation or circumstance or in our desperation, take any action, which seems likely to bring immediate or short-term benefit.

When Darren Bravo made the decision to return to the wicket, the gifted batsman was at his lowest point in the 2015 Hero CPL. He came to that match having batted five innings with scores of 0, 19, 0, 8 and 19 not out; reprimanded by his brother and Team captain, Dwayne Bravo for his poor performances in the five previous matches.

In the current game, he was having a miserable time at the crease. He was on 36 from 36 balls with 2 fours and a lone six; he survived a trial by fire from the Tridents off-spinner who exploited his problem with the spinning ball outside the off stump; he had been hit on the helmet by pace of Rayad Emrit and had played and missed many times against his fellow-Trinidadian pace bowler, Ravi Rampaul.

Irrespective of what our circumstance is at the moment, “fair play is conformity to godly rules.” Cheating is obtaining advantage by unfair or fraudulent means; dishonest behavior; deception; trickery. Fraudulent gain is sweet only for a while. (Proverbs 20:17, NIV). Yes, the immediate results may be gratifying but the lasting impression is often bitter and unforgiving.

These desperate behavioral responses undermine the “social solidarity,” that is, the shared norms and values in society, which regulates relationship in business and leisure. The resulting action hurts people, offends the moral and loyal follower; turns off the purists; confuses the impressionable minds and leads our innocent children and young people to accept such actions as conventional behavior – particularly coming from an idol, “significant other,” role model or “generalized other.”

This commentary on exceptional sportsmanship by Henna Pande, Social Media Marketing Manager, is a fitting way to end our discussion: “The true spirit of sports is when you understand where to draw the line between competition and respect. Some people are instilled with the good sense of appreciating their opponents, the sensibility of putting aside their ego and even the good graces of being simply humane. These gestures define sportsmanship truly!”

Here’s a good look at one of the most admirable gestures in sports – “Andy Roddick overturned a linesman’s call because he saw where the serve had landed. This was at a triple match point to Roddick! He chose to side with the righteous world rather than let the linesman’s call slide under the rug for a simple win. Roddick went on to lose the point and in turn, the match, but Verdasco called him a ‘great sportsman’.” (Henna Pande, January 30, 2015).

Can we demonstrate this spirit in our daily interaction with one another? Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:13, NIV.

Peter Adrien is an author, business coach, financial counselor, economic adviser and columnist. Visit: www.goadriens.com. Contact him via email: ipeter@goadriens.com“>peter@goadriens.com; phone: (869) 668-9752 (St Kitts & Nevis) or (305) 848-7604 (USA); twitter: @goadriens; Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Goadriens



 

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