Crisp Shots

May 7, 2010

Families, Friends, Foes – Sports & The Media

By Ikeddy Isiguzo
Families – People with close affinity, usually through birth or marriage, but also loosely used to define relationships we have cultivated to the point that we see people involved in them as very close to us.
All of us here frivolously call ourselves members of the sports family, without taking the attendant responsibility. What is your responsibility to sports?

Families are not necessarily friends. A Libyan handball official told me 26 years ago in Bauchi that they were  brothers with Egyptians, but they were not friends. This was his reaction to Libya’s official policy then of submitting to fines and sanctions instead of engaging Egyptian sports teams. Libya was protesting Egypt’s signing of a peace deal with Israel.
Are our sports leaders and the media families?

Friends – A friend is the channel through whom great emotional, spiritual, and sometimes even physical blessings flow. Friends will cheer us when we’re sorrowful or depressed. Friends will challenge us to attain our original limits with encouragement when we allow ourselves not to go beyond our reasonable boundaries.

Friends will motivate us when we’re ready to give in, and they can provide for us when life falls apart. Friends are there when all is well, and we want someone with whom to share life’s pleasant and memorable moments. We often just want them around, to have a good time, to laugh, to act silly, to enjoy some mutually liked activity.  -  Albert arul prakash is a web developer and blogger interested in writing articles on friendship.

We are also friends of sports. Again this has its own responsibilities. Do we realise them? How have we used our friendship for the benefit of sports?

There are fractious and profound suspicions in the relationship between the media and sports authorities. These cannot foster the interests of sports. While sports events are organised with the media being paraded as important, we are really brothers (members of the sports family) but not friends.

Foes – Family over everything, enemies, people we would rather not have anything to do with. There is little more to say about this other than to stress that relations between the media and the sports authorities can get to the point where they are foes with predictable consequences.

The media and sports leaders can decide to ignore each other, or minimise their involvement with one another. This may sound extreme, but it is going on today, to the detriment  of our sports.

What are the issues that turn families  and friends to foes? For the media, delays in getting information, and in the format that is useful for its purposes is simple enemy action. I must admit that this action could be the result of some of our sports leaders’ lack of familiarity with computers or the significance of deadlines to journalists.

Sports – Organised competitive, and skilful physical activity requiring commitment and fair play. It is governed by a set of rules or customs. In a sport the key factors are the physical capabilities and skills of the competitor when determining the outcome (winning or losing). The physical activity involves the movement of people, animals and/or a variety of objects such as balls and machines. In contrast, games such as card games and board games, though these could be called mind sports, require only mental skills. Non-competitive activities such as jogging and rock-climbing, are usually classified as recreations.

Accurate records are kept and updated for most sports at the highest levels, while failures and accomplishments are widely announced in sport news.

Sports are most often played just for fun or for the simple fact that people need exercise to stay in good physical condition. However professional sport is a major source of entertainment.

Although they do not always succeed, sports participants are expected to display good sportsmanship, standards of conduct such as being respectful of opponents and officials, and congratulating the winner when losing.

I am deliberately more elaborate in adopting the definition of sports, again from Wikipedia, because some of the events we call sports, which we organise at great efforts and expense, do not come close to the stated criteria.

The commitment that sports organisation demands is impossible without knowledge of the sports itself, and further understanding of its proper organisation enhances value for competitors, officials, sponsors and the media.
. To be continued on Friday May 14

Presented at the IOC Solidarity Leadership Course on 21 April 2010 @ the NOC Conference Room, Lagos
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