Something To Think About (28/04/2015)

We have recently had access to a book called "Athletes Of The Century" by Peter Heidenstrom, a respected athletics commentator and statistician. At the end of the book which, incidently, is a review of 100 years of athletics in New Zealand, he wrote the following.

"Why Sport?

Neither winning, nor breaking records, nor even developing fitness, is sport's main purpose. In a relatively painless way, sport teaches young people the lessons that otherwise must be learnt in the hard school of life how to make the best of their ability, to work and strive for things worthwhile, to believe in and take control over themselves, to conquer their fears, to learn from failures and to rise above them. These are qualities we can all keep learning throughout life. It explains why veteran athletes say that simply participating, without feeling the need for victory or records, brings them the satisfaction they never felt before.

Above all, sport is for those who take part in it – not the plaything of ambitious administrators, big business, or a gifted few, nor a weapon for politicians, professional agitators, angry young men, or angry old men.

Not all athletes have the killer instinct. For every Elliott there's a Ron Clarke. Often it’s simple modesty – one of the virtues, after all – that prevents us from enjoying, and so seeking, the spotlight. You might love to have an Olympic gold medal, but how would you feel standing alone on the dais in front of 50,000 people? So athletes who get beaten are not necessarily failures. After all men sacrificed their lives for others. And what’s a mere race?"