Playing Fair – On Sportsmanship

“Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.”Spirit of the Game, Ultimate Frisbee

In terms of “playing fair,” I was inspired when reading Parker Palmer’s book “A Hidden Wholeness, The Journey Toward an Undivided Life.” Early on, Palmer talks about Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins who at the end of 2002 were named Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year.”

Do you know who these three women are?

As Parker says, “They were honored for confronting corruption at WorldCom, the FBI, and Enron, respectively.”

Learn more here.

As a person who makes his living working with children, I am fascinated by the concept of “playing fair.” We regularly confuse children around it, from how our heroes behave on professional sports fields to ridiculing those brave enough to step forward by calling them “tattletales.”

To me, a tattletale is someone who acts out of self-interest, for some kind of unhealthy gain. That’s not playing fair. But anyone, child or adult, who stands up to say something is not right is not a tattletale, they are acting with integrity, the root of playing fair.

Think of it this way: Are you being a tattletale when you call the police to report a crime you are witnessing?

As a final dose of inspiration I offer you this 6 minute video that is one of the greatest examples of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen:

Published by Andy Smallman

I work to promote ordinary activities that awaken kindness, cheerfulness, thoughtfulness & awe, helping people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world.