Integrity, honesty, respect, fairness – These words represent the essential elements of ethics in sport. Every athlete should understand the meaning of these virtues and adhere to them even when nobody is watching.
Sport has a long and rich history. To better understand the meaning of fair play; let’s go back in time, a long time ago in a galaxy far away… All jokes aside. The Ancient Greek philosophy of sport focused on physical, mental, and spiritual strength. The Greek idea of Kalokagathia described the perfect, harmonious combination of physical, moral, and spiritual values. The ancient philosophy laid a foundation for modern sport and was restored and adopted by Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games.
So, what is fair play?
Fair play is a complex concept that embodies a number of values, respect for written and unwritten rules, solidarity, equality, competing without doping, and the list goes on.
In the modern day, with the increasing popularity of the internet and social media, where the news travels at the speed of light, we find ourselves wondering about fairness in sports. Scandals, including doping, have brought to light difficult questions about ethics in sports. Just about any athletic career is going to involve ethical and moral dilemmas and we have to ask ourselves, what kind of message do we want to send to the future generations, do we want to win even if it means breaking or bending the rules, or do we want to race with an honor? We choose what we share with others, but only we know what goes on behind the scenes. Be the kind of person who sets an example for others, because you never know who looks up to you, whom you influence.
It’s the responsibility of every athlete to read the rules and adhere to them. Not following the rules because you don’t know them is not an excuse. Read them and learn them.
In obstacle course racing there are races where obstacle completion is mandatory, and races where you have to take penalties when you fail. When you run a race that requires mandatory obstacle completion, you usually receive a wristband. If you can’t complete an obstacle, your wristband is cut. Most of the time there are officials who take your wristband when you fail, but there are rare instances when nobody is available and you are left with a decision. What would you do? Would you take your own wristband off or would you continue on? Fair play, personal integrity, and ethical behavior are the key words.
At other races you only have one attempt at an obstacle and if you fail, you have to do penalty laps, burpees, or other exercises, depending on the rules of the race. Most of the time officials monitor proper form and number of penalties. If you don’t complete the required amount you get penalized or disqualified. Is that really worth it? I get it, everybody can make a mistake. We are human and mistakes happen, but when someone completely avoids penalties, that’s a different story. It’s not fair towards others who compete with integrity, and as I mentioned earlier, fair play has always been a very important part of sport.
Be the athlete who strives for athletic as well as moral excellence. Race with honor, integrity, respect to others, and lead by an example, because that’s the best way to win, not only in sports but also in life.
by ambassador Petra