Sportsmanship creates an aura of invincibility around those who practise it .

18 June 2024, Tuesday

 

 

 

The moment’s that challenge us most – define us : Lewis Pugh 

 

 

There is something special about sport. It consumes our human emotions. It speeds up winning and losing – the successes are instant, the failures dramatic. Sportsmanship and Gamesmanship transparent for all to see.

Sport is a microcosm of life.

And most of all it inspires hope in humanity –  and the human collective.

On and off the field of play, the frenetic and accelerating pace of our social media-driven era, places our sporting champions live on center stage – none more so than at 2015 J- Bay  Surf Pro , where two of the world’s top surfers, Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson were locked in a world title battle .

But, none of that mattered, when a great white shark attacked Mick Fanning during the high profile event final, which was streamed live to millions of viewers around the world .

The extra ordinary courage and camaraderie of the pair has been applauded around the world as a show of true sportsmanship – Julian Wilson paddling frantically towards his world title competitor, fellow Australian countryman and friend – to help save him from the jaws of a great white.

I felt like I couldn’t get there quick enough. I thought he was gone, he’s gone under ‘. Julian Wilson

And later when asked in a World Surf League interview if the world title still ‘meant anything’?

No, not at all. I’m just happy that he’s alive – he’s here ’

After the traumatic experience, the World Surf League cancelled the rest of the event, with Wilson and Fanning both agreeing to take second place in the competition.
For Mick Fanning, who has already won three World Titles , and ironically holds the nick name ‘ White Lightening ‘ , his showdown with a great white has further built his legend – and has shown how true sportsmanship counts in real life situations .

The 34 year old Fanning is known for his modesty and understatement. He has overcome numerous obstacles to reach the peak of his sport, having come back from serious injury, and the death of his brother in a car accident.
This time around it was his courage, his bravery and the collective support of a fellow competitor and rescue teams, which saw him through physically unscathed , yet mentally shaken.

I just can’t believe it. I’m just tripping. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked : Mick Fanning

Sportsmanship creates an aura of invincibility around those who practice it. Defining moments – moments of great courage – make Great Champions .

And great sporting champions like Fanning and Wilson have shown the world how unimportant the ever increasing modern trend towards ‘Gamesmanship’ can prove to be – in sport and life itself.

Winning and Losing – pale into insignificance in real life situations.


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Rob can be contacted at robopie@thegameplan.co.za.