Reflection #4 : Play Fair

“Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.” —Spirit of the Game, Ultimate Frisbee

04-anonymous-kindnessI wonder how many of you are finding the idea of “playing fair” as a kindness mission a little confusing. For what it’s worth, I don’t mind confusing you. I want this activity to be more than what one might call a stereotypical kindness class. It’s intended to be less about performing “normal” acts of kindness, although those are fine, of course, and more about looking at what the concept of kindness means to you. In offering themes, or missions, each week, I’m hoping to start an internal process that gets you thinking.

That being said, I’m trying to find ideas that lend themselves to being anonymous, too. In terms of “playing fair,” I was inspired through my reading of Parker Palmer’s book “A Hidden Wholeness, The Journey Toward an Undivided Life.” Early on, Palmer talks about Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins who at the end of 2002 were named Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year.” Do you know who these three women are? As Parker says, “They were honored for confronting corruption at WorldCom, the FBI, and Enron, respectively.” Learn more here.

kl-january-cat-and-bird-fish17As a person who makes his living working with children, I am fascinated by the concept of “playing fair.” We regularly confuse children around it, from how our heroes behave on professional sports fields to ridiculing those brave enough to step forward by calling them “tattletales.” To me, a tattletale is someone who acts out of self-interest, for some kind of unhealthy gain. That’s not playing fair. But anyone, child or adult, who stands up to say something is not right is not a tattletale, he is acting with integrity, the root of playing fair. Think of it this way. Are you being a tattletale when you call the police to report a crime you are witnessing?

As a final dose of inspiration I offer you this 6 minute video that is one of the greatest examples of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen. Talk about playing fair…

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