The Rotting of Sport


From the times of the Romans sport has been an activity where man lived by a code which was almost impossible to live life by. The code of conduct expected from a sportsperson was almost impossibly high. We watched these Gods fighting each other and marvelled; but what we marvelled at more was the code of honor – No prize was worth cheating for. Our hearts pumped up with pride and our eyes welled up with tears when a batsman walked after he’s snicked a ball; or when Robbie Fowler “missed” a penalty he thought his team shouldn’t have been given.

Compared to those Men (and I include the Navratilova’s and Chris Everts’ here), we have a generation of flawed sportspersons. Today it is okay for a sportsman to cheat if it wins him or his team the ultimate prize. Nowhere is this eroding of values seen as in football. Today a Drogba or a Ronaldo fall clutching the nearest part of the anatomy if someone so much as gets up from their seat to go to the hot dog stand. Maradona is seen by many as equal to Pele as the greatest footballer, notwithstanding the fact that he cheated and then showed no remorse over his actions.

Another sport that shows low moral standards as a part of everyday life is F1. Michael Schumacer took sport and sportsmanship to levels so low, you had to be dead to look up to him. McLaren’s spygate showed that the rot had set in so deep that the exit of the cheat had done nothing to improve the sport. And yesterday Ferrari showed that 8 years after a specific rule was added to stop team orders – they will not stop stooping low to win.

An oft repeated argument is that F1 is a team game. Fair enough, then we need to do away with the Driver’s Championship. No other team sport gives an individual championship trophy so why should F1? Would Massa have been asked to move over if it did not mean that Alonso could get back in the driver’s title race?

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