Monday, May 21, 2012

Fair Play In Life

A Religious Sister writes about fair play in the column "'Window from the Ark" in the Catholic Times. Although she has little ability in sports, walking being her only exercise, she enjoys watching athletic events and sees them as miniature portrayals of life.

No one plays any sport with the intention to lose, winning is usually the primary goal. Tenacity and challenge are also incentives motivating those who pick up a sport, along with the desire to win. However, it is necessary that the winning comes with nobility. We are all moved by seeing a sporting event played properly following the rules. When this is the case, the winners and losers all receive a fitting round of applause. In life this is also true. Sister does not see sports separated from life.

She brings to our attention the news story of a gold medalist who was thought to have plagiarized in getting his doctorate. An editorial wanted the readers to understand that he wasn't a scholar, and to understand with magnanimity his position as an athlete. Sister was not happy with this attempt to understand what was done, and says that when we sympathize without objectivity we are not doing anyone any favor.

It is understood that we make mistakes but when we do, it is necessary that we face what was done, feel sorrow, and face the morrow with hope. When a serious mistake is made, and the embarrassment is so great that to say I am sorry is difficult, then at least it should be acknowledged in the person's deportment, in his eyes and attitude. This will be seen by others and forgiven. However, we don't often see this fair play attitude of sports in the game of life.

She sees lack of fair play permeating a great deal of society.  A few years ago when we  had an irregularity that some considered a blotch on the  reputation of the country, some thought it was a sign of patriotism to overlook what was done for the good of the country.  Sister sees this as a strange way of behaving; does this really benefit the country? she asks. Can this lying continue for long?  Thinking that it's good to hide from other countries our disgraces and embarrassments is rather to retreat into exclusiveness, nationalism and inferiority.

Sister concludes that plagiarism or other irregularities are not the big issue. The effort to hide what was done, she believes, is the bigger problem. That the young people are influenced by this way of acting is regrettable, she says; we will never accomplish anything by trying to cover darkness with more darkness. The pain and embarrassment that come from mistakes, when acknowledged, can often lead to a better tomorrow.

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