It’s not too often that we get to see THIS: competitors whose teams (literally) spent the last three hours beating each other to the ground, embracing in a respectful, warm, friendly embrace. There are so many hidden lessons from competitors that we can learn from. But thanks to the quick action of reporter James Palmer, we caught this magic moment after last week’s Bucs-Saints NFL playoff game. Why is this moment so magical? Because of the hidden lessons in sports, in life, in politics, in business, we need to show more gratitude and respect for our opponents.
Not only did these fierce opponents and seasoned warriors share a hug, but we even got to see Brady throw a touchdown pass to Brees’ son in the end zone while Brees’ wife congratulated Brady on the victory. Respect for opponents and their family is such an important part of competition.
Eastern cultures take a much different approach to opponents than Western cultures. From Turkey to Thailand, it’s actually tradition to meet your opponents at the center of the field and shake hands BEFORE a competition….in many Eastern countries young athletes actually do the “high five line” at the beginning of the game AND after the game. Why? Because without an opponent there can be no competition.
So here are the top 5 reasons why we need to appreciate and respect our opponents and the hidden lessons we learn from competitors:
Without our opponent there would be no contest.
By it’s very definition, competition cannot happen without more than one competitor. This is why we must show gratitude to our opponents for showing up and making the game possible.
Our opponent challenges us and pushes us to be our best.
Great athletes spend hours training with their team and rehearsing for game day, but our opponents put our skills to the true test: real situations, real stress, real pressure.
Our opponent is training as hard as we are to reach their goal.
While they are not on the same team, you have to respect that your opponent is working as hard as you are to get the victory. And together you elevate each other.
Every competitor is an ambassador, promoting the love of the game.
We need our opponents to spread the love of the game, to demonstrate the best that the sport has to offer, to make each competition exciting and to drive younger athletes to try the sport.
Thanks to our opponents, we can give fans what they really want: an exciting, fair, well-played competition
This certainly holds true for professional sports, but maybe even more so for youth sports where parents are the biggest fans.
So take a page from the Brees/Brady playbook and appreciate our opponents whether win, lose or draw.
Have a safe and fun sports season.
Ian Goldberg is a sports dad, coach and the Founder of iSport360. His SportsTech company is helping 100,000 youth sport coaches, parents and kids set goals, share player feedback, foster healthy team communication and engage parents in a positive way….all so our kids can have more success, more confidence and more fun. Try iSport360 for free here.