Saturday, January 31, 2009

Let's Return to Playing Sports for Fun and Honor

Articles like Refused urine test ignites chess doping scandal show how broad the issue is of using inappropriate aids. I also recall hearing about a doping scandal in a rifle competition last year. News stories like these disappoint me and surprise me at the lengths some people will go to win.

In my youth, I played sports for enjoyment. It was a chance to be with friends, get exercise, and compete to win. In baseball and football, I played on championship teams and last place teams. In some years, I was the bench warmer and in other years, I was one of the top starters. However, in all cases, I played hard and had lots of fun. I never took inappropriate measures to win.

A story I like to tell is the high school football state championship team on which I was the starting fullback. Although we were a competitive team, the starters treated football as a extra curricular activity, not the only focus of high school. Almost all of us played two sports and some played three sports. Very few of us did a weight training program, even during the football season. Only a couple of players were recruited by colleges, but many others like me did not receive any attention from college scouts. For us, sports was fun, as I think it was meant to be.

Another story I like is about an early 1900's US Olympic swimmer. About a week before the Olympics, he took a vacation from his job and travelled to the event. He swam and won a gold medal. After the Olympics, he returned home and went back to work, with little fanfare.

Nowadays, there seems to be much more pressure to excel in sports. As expected, people are doing things like strength training and off season camps to improve and gain an edge. However, since athletes are taking steroids, prescription drugs, and using doping to increase performance, it seems the pressure has become too much, causing people to forget what I consider the original purpose of sports - play hard, do one's best, and win with honor.

For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial or sports advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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