I am a competitive runner who is a doctor, or maybe I should phrase, I am a doctor who is a competitive runner/athlete. I write about health and how to keep your body healthy and in motion. I write about competing and how to do it well without cheating, as many athletes have lately. I love winning and/or placing in races; I train hard, keep fit, eat well and work to win.
One topic I have not addressed is sportsmanship in how we compete and how we live our lives, day to day. I witnessed an example of the ultimate in sportsmanship a couple days ago on of all places, the tennis court. Carole, a friend of ours was playing with a partner against another couple. She happens to be the President and CEO of The Peacemaker Corps, a global company helping children spread peace around the planet.
Carole and her partner were having a rally against their opponents when she successfully struggled to reach a ball and returned it for a game-winning point. Her partner yelled out just as she hit the ball, “great shot!” The opponent, who would not have been able to return Carole’s shot, suddenly stopped and responded, “Oh, I thought you were referring to mine as the winner.” It was obvious to all that he could not have returned Carole’s ball and that his team lost the point and game. However, he insisted that he could have returned her shot if he had not been interrupted, so he demanded a re-serve for this important game point.
There was a moment of bewilderment by Carole and her partner (the teaching pro at our tennis club), but they conceded with grace and agreed to re-serve the point. Unfortunately, she and her partner lost the next two points and the game.
However, in my eyes, Carole won the highest honor of sportsmanship by not contesting the opponent’s justification for not returning her shot. What an ultimate sportswoman and peacemaker!!! She not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk!!!
I would like to thank you Carole for this poignant example of peace making! You may not have won that game, but you are the real WINNER!!! Thanks for refreshing my memory that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game!
Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C., C.C.F.C.