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A Direction Of The Future

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“When you stay on purpose and refuse to be discouraged by fear, you align with the infinite self, in which all possibilities exist”—Wayne Dyer.

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Inspiration.

Something simple, but always is the launchpad for something great.

What is inspiration?

“the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”

No.

When Billie Jean King first fought for equal pay in women’s tennis, when Serena Williams came back from pregnancy to return to tennis at a high level, Venus Williams in 2005, supporting Billie Jean’s dream of equality of equal pay, and Li Na, inspiring the road of Asian athletes to participate in tennis. The thought of being moved, by their actions, their movement, their voice, their soul, their mind, as another individual will walk this path, and might even rewrite the history books. However, there are always people who do not “do remarkable things” and taint sport, where our biased should standpoints disappear, as we come together to play a game with rules that are fair, or are we?

Sport always has been a place where people under the same “fair” rules achieve something special, whether it is for fun or for a career. An elite sportsperson such as Roger Federer became the greatest of all time, and his social and community work is something that seems to stun us all and become truly inspirational. In 2003, early in his career, he established the “Roger Federer” foundation” where money was raised to help disadvantaged children unable to access education and sport. He focused on South Africa and supported the South Africa-Swiss charity IMBEWU by assisting children for more exposure in education and sports. In 2005, after his victory at the US open, he auctioned his racquet to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 2005 and 2010, after the Indian Ocean Earthquake and the Haiti Earthquake, he was the first to arrange a charity event where top players would play to raise money, for a total of more than $1 million dollars. These are some of the achievements in the community, of an elite athlete who has decided to give back to the “world” who have all supported him on the journey to greatness. To top off this inspirational philanthropy, Roger Federer on the 24th of November of 2017, received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Basel, recognized by Switzerland for his community work and foundation.

“Every aspect of human technology has a dark side, including the bow and arrow.” — Margaret Atwood

Sport is often fair and played by the rules, however, certain events spark in the sports community can show this is not always the case. A very recent and very controversial topic would be the Nick Kyrgios comment made against Stan Wawrinka, “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend,” referring to Stan’s girlfriend Donna Vekic. The comment is an example of sledging, where the two players verbally attack each other to gain a psychological advantage, however, Kyrgios’s slur is an example of misogyny in men’s sport. It is sexism, the meaning of the comment is to inform Stan that Thanasi is “conquering” Donna Vekic and achieving “the spoils of war” by “banging” someone. Kyrgios’s brother insults Vekic in a radio interview and Kygrios’s mother, being uninformed said, “it’s not a nice thing to say, it’s not, but you can’t always cop it on the chin from other people without retaliating,” supporting her son in saying that it was not on purpose and should be ok despite the seriousness of the comment. The media responses were never on Vekic’s side and people commented on Vekic’s morals, character and being sexually active, directly bullying the victim. In the end, Kyrgios apologizes to Stan but never apologizes to Donna Vekic. It alarms us of sexism in sport present today and female discrimination present in the sport today, which contradicts the values in sport.

To what extent should athletes be role models and inspiration? A Professor of Philosophy at Creighton University argues “we know about celebrated athletes’ exemplary conduct in sport”, but “there is nothing intrinsic to athletic participation that merits the status of being a moral exemplar.” He argues that the athletes minimum or good conduct is compulsory and their participation in sports activity does not mean they become role models. Elite athletes are regular people who are extremely talented in their field of sport, their extraordinary performance in sport is the reason why we take note of the greatness and it is not because of their outstanding performances in their field. This is an issue for the growing children and young people in the next generation, as most children pick elite sportspeople because they win, and professional athletes are what young athletes would like to be. Children are more likely to pick someone such as LeBron James as a role model because he has won the SuperBowl twice as a quarterback, and not someone who was reported of sexual assault. Not all decorated athletes, including LeBron James or Michael Phelps, who has been arrested for drinking, are the greatest role models.

We aren’t saying athletes can’t be good role models, just some are better than others to follow and look up to than others.

As people are inspired to achieve great heights and succeed, we look back on the parts of their decorated careers and their lives to see evidence of success. Sport, one of the first lessons for children to learn to how to play fair and follow the rules of society, may not be the most trustworthy system, that yet has many flaws we have yet to fix. Inspiration is important in our society and our daily lives, and as more decorated, respected individuals, not only in sport, make their impact, we may see a more balanced “game,” the proletariat play in our lives. Maybe one day, sport might become truly, 100% fair?

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