After the amazing feats of courage over adversity we witnessed during the Paralympic Games which I wrote about last week, I was heartened to both see and read of another moment of sporting sacrifice that serves as an incredible marker for our students.
Last Sunday on Cozumel, an island in the Caribbean Sea, the dominant triathlete brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were in contention for top medal placings once again. A win would have seen Jonny claim the overall world triathlon title. However, heading into the final kilometre of the 10km run Jonny started to suffer from the relentless heat.
As Jonny was passed by a competitor who went on to take gold, his third placed brother Alistair, seeing his brother in trouble, put his arm around him and supported him the final 100m before physically pushing him over the line. Watching the news coverage brought back memories of the scenes from the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 when Derrick Redman was carried over the line by his father.
Jonny’s unfortunate demise meant that the fifth placed competitor took the overall world title by four points from the Olympic silver medallist, however Jonny was full of gratitude for the heroics of his brother.
“Sometimes in sport we talk about winning being the most important thing in the world, and a lot of the time it is, but maybe yesterday helping a brother our was more important.”
In so many areas of life we judge self-worth largely by whether we win or lose. The upsetting result of this is that our young people can only maintain their sense of self-worth by making others feel less worthy. Therefore, we have to change the parameters by which we measure success. Alistair Brownlee regarded helping out a fellow human being as more important than winning the season ending event. It is vital that our young people see success in terms of achieving their own goals (be that performance or behavioural), living up to their own standards, rather than being measured by the results of their peers. If through our teaching/coaching here at Sidcot we can help them understand that fundamental principle, we will be on our way to helping them become incredible human beings.
Director of Sport Development
Photograph courtesty of Sky Sports