Sportsmanship

Just what was going on? England were dis-allowed an obvious goal. What did the Germans do? Did they just ignore everything and carry on? Yes. Well they missed an opportunity.
 
If they had been so confident of winning - what would have happened if they had remonstrated with the referee as well - just imagine the consequences:

  • The German nation would be regarded as the highest in sportsmanship.
  • England would not regard them as the old enemy - burying 65 years of bad history. England would have been in debt to the Germans for another 65 years for that amazing jesture.
  • The world will recognise that winning at all cost was not the way you win the heart of the world.
  • That playing the game (both in excellence and sportsmanship) is part of winning.

So just imagine now how we would feel. FIFA would not be in a mess - like many of the sporting associations around the world. Players could have taken back control of the game instead of the officious bodies who in the end do not regulate the game to make it a fair playing field.
 
The big question is whether England if in the same position would have done the same thing: in my heart I suspect exactly the same: money has taken over the English game so we no longer breed sportsmen and sportswomen.
 
Many years ago I played in a tennis tournament. I was being thrashed by a 12 year old. There was only one spectator. His father with a tripod and a video system recording the whole game.
 
But have lost two sets and 2-4 down in the third I pulled myself up and used every trick as an experienced player uses - dropping the ball - using feinting shots and superb lobs to really make the kid work. In the end I took the match and was incredibly pleased with my performance.
 
But what worried me most was the young boy and his father. I decided to teach the father (and his obvious pushy ways) and the boy a lesson in what it is to win. I knew the boy was going to get a trouncing from his father (with a video review and playback) after that episode but I also wanted him to be encouraged. I was a mature player who could play many games to come. But this boy was starting out so I went to the father and boy and said:
 
"Today I have won, but at what cost to both of us? The cost, it seems to me, is higher for you because you will be so dissappointed and discouraged that all your training has come to nothing. I want you to take my place in the next round. I am sure you will have more fun in the future. Remember: winning is not everything: you can win even though you lose."
 
To this day, that story starts to stands out more - because it is so unusual. And being a sportsman nowadays means that winning at all costs achieves very little in the long run.