One of the many positive aspects of professional sports is the lessons it offers to all. What happens when you get people to compete at the highest levels for prizes that involve large amounts of money – people that in some sense are just like you and me? When we watch or read about competitions we find the highest and the lowest, the best and the worst of our shared human nature. Take some lessons from these last few days:
Cyclist Lance Armstrong admits he used performance enhancing drugs throughout much of his career, including all seven Tour de France wins. From national hero who defeated cancer to a simple cheat, the downfall looks much worse than super-golfer Tiger Woods’ who also cheated, on his wife, three years ago.
On the local side, in another sport, my team River Plate showed the importance of motivation and experience when practically the same players who were unable to give two good consecutive ball passes with their previous coach beat arch-rivals Boca Juniors guided by seven-times champion coach Ramón Díaz.
A third example is taken from football again, when host Argentina was unable to qualify past the initial stage of the South American Youth (under 20) Championship, a consequence of making all the wrong choices of coaches since Jorge Pekerman won 3 World Youth championships in 1995, 1997 and 2001.
Ambition, deception, commercial interests, experience, motivation, child pressure, vanity, politics… it’s all there if we care to look. And there is so much to learn too. One question we can ask ourselves is, would I have done any better in similar conditions?