Integrity and Shame, All in One Week

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The face of sports has changed since I was a child. Sports-figures were always someone “we kids” could look up to. Boys and girls often chose role models from their favorite teams in whose footsteps they longed to follow. Parents felt comfortable, and knew that the best athletes were often also the best students, the best citizens, the best teammates, the best workers. Athletes were known for their integrity, ambition, dedication, discipline and all-around good natures.

At some point, subtle changes began to occur. More and more stories of “fallen” athletes who succumbed to temptations of overuse of alcohol or other “wild living” surfaced. Tales of drugs, gambling, extramarital affairs were not far behind. Current media overflows with reports of sports champions, arrested and charged with violent crimes, as well as those being stripped of medals or DQ’d because of illicit steroid use or other protocol infractions.

Being a famous sports athlete definitely comes at a price, one each player and performer must determine whether he or she is willing to pay—hours upon hours of practice, academic tutors on the road for those still in school, time away from family and friends and, at its highest levels, next-to-no-life outside the confines of the sport. For some, it proves too heavy a burden, and they fall.

Recently, there have been allegations against several members of the United States men’s Olympic swim team. An active investigation remains ongoing; therefore, the truth has yet to be revealed. Never-the-less, reports of surveillance film showing these athletes damaging commercial property and acting recklessly under the influence of alcohol has rocked the Olympic world and caused many to wonder if perhaps being a world-famous athlete is a little too much for many young adults to handle.

And, yet, some seem to handle it just fine. On the other end of the spectrum, we have a young man fully engaged in a championship tennis match. It’s down to the final service of the game. His opponent fires one across the net. The judge calls it “out”, but in the next moment, something extraordinary happens. The young athlete who was on the receiving end of the serve calls across the net to his opponent. He tells him the ball was clearly “in” and suggests that he (the opponent) challenge the judge’s call. Mind you, if the challenge were to be successful, this young man would lose the competition. In the video that’s gone viral of this amazing sports moment, one can see the look of surprise and bewilderment on the opponent’s face. Finally, he succumbs to his adversary’s urging and challenges the call. The challenge is successful. The opponent wins.

The world could use a whole lot more viral videos showing athletes at the heights of their sports, exhibiting sportsmanlike conduct with the utmost integrity, over a news reel of the latest list of “thugs in the NFL” any day. The good examples, mentors, and role models are still out there. Apparently, one of them plays tennis.

Writer Bio

Judy DudichJudy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.

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