Friday, November 28, 2014

a good sport

I have once been asked to write something about sports. The closest I could get to was that event in college, the intramural. It has always been a part of many institutions since time immemorial. Its history could be sketchy at best; it could have started in the 1910s or it could have dated back to the era when Greece or Rome are in power, setting up games and competitions in arenas. This alone speaks volumes on how significant sports are in one’s culture.

But in this age of the iPhone 6 Plus, the internet, and other modern distractions, do the young still have time for ball games? Do they still have the slightest bit of interest on rules and discipline along with sweat and dirt? If we at the colleges of today, the answer is simple: Yes. During the intramurals, we see students taking pride in their team colors, taking part in an event that forges solidarity through fair play. There are no different courses and year levels, just skill and talent.

As tirelessly taught by many P.E. instructors, this is the constant agenda: We play to be better not only as an individual but as a community. Like a family. The intramurals are never meant to divide us. And this is the part where I have to probe deeper into the significance of sports among the young people of this generation.

Despite the consensus, a sport is not entirely about victory, power, strategy and strength in numbers. It is about the need to remind the young of the significance of principles such as honesty.

Fairness and truth must be discussed as a major factor in sports as much as being brave, being intelligent, and being pleasant. It must be discussed even more than the usual. Honesty is in fact a multilayered word. There are a lot of ways to interpret it: There was Gilas Pilipinas who admitted defeat to Argentina in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. There was the former cyclist champion Lance Armstrong who eventually revealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs in competitions. There was the regret of having not to play the sports I wanted to play now after suffering from a surfing accident that rendered both of my ankles inept. There was this defeat in a game I thought I was really good at. There are a lot more. Conceding only little.

That is why significance of sports must not only tackle whether there is a need to implement this among the youth or bring up what specific sport is good for them. Significance should also bring to light the values we can learn from sports. Because what good is winning when you have cheated? What good is a strategy when you mean to hurt someone? What good is a trophy if your hands are as dirty as your next lie? 

Indeed, honesty is the foundation of sports, the bedrock of all the other codes and morals that makes the games more engaging, profound, and beautiful. That is why we take the oath of sportsmanship before anything else, right? No amount of medals and recognition would result to honor without honesty. This is the crucial significance in sports that the youth needs to remember now and always.

Honesty though can pull one in different directions. Like a tug of war, there is tension from opposite ends. In a sport that you have lost, you could be left embittered, in surrender to the raw emotions of anger and envy. But on the other hand, you could be liberated from what you think you can do and get up from there. This is the kind of honesty that nurtures humility and would make one say, “Yes, I will do better next time.”

You see, when it comes to sports, we become too preoccupied on the competition, too focused on the reward, and burdened by the desire to outdo one another and to claim that elusive success story that we forget the very core of sports: to be good, to be better, and to be humble. I believe these are what makes one notable, in and out of the court.

To bring this to a close, the significance of sports among the young people of today remains indefatigable. It is ever-changing, never-ending, and tireless like the spirit of a true athlete. And one could only be as such if there is a certain kind of openness and sincerity in his heart. Honesty, win or lose, makes one a good sport.

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