Watching the closing moments of the Champions League final a few days ago, as much as I love the game of football, one thing struck me as I watched the Barcelona players deliberately wasting time in the closing minutes of the game – that sport without sportsmanship is an ugly thing.

Keeping possession of the ball through clever play and skill…well that’s one thing. But pretending to be injured, or walking as slowly as possible off the pitch to simply run down the clock…those things infuriate me. Sportsman of that calibre should be utterly embarrassed to feign injury, or use other such pathetic tricks to get an advantage. How weak and spineless are these guys?

Sport is a chance to test yourself in every dimension  – your physical limits, your skill and strategy, your mental strength and determination, controlled aggression, physical creativity. And if through a combination of all of these things you can earn a victory, then that can be appreciated even by the losing team or individual.  Whether or not you are a fan of boxing, fighting or the martial arts, when two guys can compete full-force, but then graciously congratulate each other on a ‘fair fight’ at the end of the bout, why is it that in certain other sports that appreciation of the opponent and of ‘sportsmanship’ and ‘winning well’ disappears?

One of the things that was special about Last Man Standing was that although some of the challenges were unusual and occasionally the the process of deciding a winner was not as clear-cut as we would have liked  (Something from which i both benefited and lost out!) one thing that was pretty consistent is that we all truly WANTED to earn our victories. We Wanted to lay our bodies on the line to try to win. To be able to walk away and say ‘I earned that’.  I remember as much as it pained me to watch Jason rowing ahead of me in the final challenge and I would have given anything to be the one winning…a bigger part of me had great admiration for his efforts and huge determination to push through. In Papua Jason pushed so hard that he was in tears as he made those final paddle strokes to victory. This big, tough guy who cheekily said ‘if you can’t beat them…you cheat’ showed the exact opposite trait — pure determination and hard work to earn his victory. And when you push that hard, even if you lose, you still feel great pride in yourself as a person.  I remember in the 12th location (vanuatu) where only Jason and I remained still paddling in a torturous canoe race that lasted about 5hours…and as i approached the finish line i was so exhausted I was just in tears for the last 20minutes of the race. Crying and paddling and barely aware anymore of what i was doing.

Win or lose, that’s how athletes are supposed to compete. To keep playing good football until the final whistle, and if your best football is not good enough, then maybe you don’t deserve to win.

Or maybe that’s just how i see it…

Last Man Standing (Last One Standing) Discovery Channel

Posted in Rajko's Blog | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Sportsmanship…

  1. Hellz Faerie says:

    ‘Last Man Standing’ is so good (watching the first series being shown on TV now) and shows such mental power as well as physical.
    Tho i was really cringing when you were wrestling with a broken rib, ouch.. but you still did it, fair play.
    One day i wanna push myself to see how far i can go, because i know it would be something youd never forget and something worthwhile doing, something you can look back on.
    Makes me wanna go and do a work-out right now, but id rather watch you on TV instead, ha haa

  2. Hellz Faerie says:

    Oh and the pink pants were hot..!!!!

  3. IloveRajko says:

    Speaking the truth as always Rajko

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