It is how you play the game that counts
All last week I was reminded of the speed and great distance that a person can fill in such a short time. The great track and field athlete Marion Jones had to surrender herself for incarceration at a federal penitentiary in Texas. I had admired her talent and poise as she dominated her sport. She was a prominent face at the Olympics and undoubtedly served as a positive role model for young females who aspired to reach athletic greatness. For so many of us who followed her career, the revelations that exposed her performance enhancing drug use and financial missteps were a shock and great disappointment.
The temptation to cheat has seemed to overwhelm a whole generation of athletes. Football, baseball, track and field, bicycling and boxing have all been affected by this evil. I feel that the only remedy is to return to the core values of sport that made them such a valuable measuring stick for humanity. The dedication and discipline that was necessary to excel at sports seemed to give athletes a leg up on the rest of humanity. Those inner forces seemed to indicate that any individual who possessed them was someone special. Teamwork and willingness to play by the rules made athletes more capable of succeeding outside of the field of play and helped to shape many leaders in all walks of life. If we can get back to these simple values, we may be able to give those who participate in sports a direction for their aspirations. Hopefully the next Marion Jones will be a person to emulate and not someone we pity for her failure to make the right choices.
(photo credit: Sports Illustrated cover)