Sport at the highest level, at least on the surface, appears to be about winning. Sport organizations have multi-million dollar budgets for coaching, sports medicine, exercise physiology, research into the technical aspects and so on. In most countries, at least a portion of that budget is based on the success of the team. In other words if they win, they are better funded. Certainly a great deal of effort and focus goes into winning but there’s so much more to be gained from sport than just a victory. Among other things, sport can teach leadership, respect, sportsmanship, the value of hard work, the reward in facing a great challenge, the lessons learned in the failures along the way, the importance of enjoying the process and so on.
And here’s a key point – it would be easy to assume that at the highest level, sportsmanship and fair play take a back seat to winning but this is clearly not the case. In fact, a great number of the most successful athletes in the world are also the ones who demonstrate the strongest sense of sportsmanship. In other words, although being completely dedicated to winning, they have an awareness of a bigger picture and have a value system that dictates exactly what is and what is not acceptable in terms of making it happen. These athletes have not only succeeded at the highest level but have a greater sense of fulfillment in achieving their success and are more likely to enjoy the process as well. This blog will discuss many of the aspects listed above and hear opinions from a number of highly successful athletes, coaches, sport psychologists and the like.
About the Author
Kevin Eaton lives with his wife and two boys in New Orleans, LA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Phys Ed from the University of New Orleans and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from the Louisiana State University. As an athlete, Kevin competed in many sports including wrestling, rowing, speed skating and bobsleigh before finding softball. Opinions expressed by Kevin on Play Famously are his own.