IN these days when the business of sports trumps almost everything else, nothing, it seems, is more important than winning.
Whether its football, hockey, badminton or some other sport, it’s the same thing – winning comes above sportsmanship.
Winning is the only thing that matters, or that’s what I thought until I read a heartening story recently.
It happened in a Hopman Cup tennis match last week in Australia between Lleyton Hewitt and Jack Sock.
The umpire had called one of Hewitt’s first serves out only for Sock to advise him to challenge the call. He told Hewitt that his serve was actually in, to the bemusement of the former World No. 1 and the umpire.
I think that the crowd would have been shocked as well.
Even when I play sports on a social and casual level – especially badminton or football – I admit I’ve lied when the ball or shuttle went out.
So, what Sock did in a match of pretty high stakes was really something else. Hewitt, after a few moments, did challenge the call and he was proven to be right. Or Sock was proven to be right to the loud cheers of the crowd in Perth.
Sock, who at the time was leading 5-4 in the first set of the match, eventually lost 7-5, 6-4.
I can bet with you most coaches would tell their players to just accept any judgement that comes their way.
I am not sure if sportsmanship comes into the picture at all when it comes to decisions that may favour you or otherwise.
What are the odds that a football player who used his hand to score a goal would tell the referee what happened. How many times have we seen players dive to get a penalty for their team?
How many times have we seen athletes fight against referees if decisions go against them?
They might have a point, but if a decision went their way when it shouldn’t have, would they say anything?
To be fair, there have been several times where we have seen great acts of sportsmanship, but this sort of thing only happens on rare occasions.
Here’s, however, hoping that there will be much more in the future.
Winning doesn’t really have to come at all costs.