Play With Proper Outlook

Play With Proper Outlook

            Does it make sense for me to say that, when I play hockey, I operate on a higher level than those who play only to win? My goal is to expend full effort at all times, while always playing smartly and fairly. Since no one can exceed total hustle, a natural by-product of this philosophy will be the maximum that can be done in order to secure victory (in addition to promoting genuine sportsmanship) and, regardless of the outcome, there can be no self-recriminations when the game ends because how can one do better than one’s best? Is my argument too ethical?

            I admit that the philosophy of only “playing to win,” with all of its machinations, is the business of upper levels of athletics where victory can mean extra millions of dollars, but it can also generate much ugliness and make sports anything but sporting when various dubious tactics are employed, such as manipulating equipment, “taking out” the opposition’s best players illegally, secretly filming one’s rivals or stealing plays, etc.. If my philosophical premise is accepted, at what level should it cease so that the business of winning is all that matters?

            In order to prepare best for a game, all athletes should have the proper mental attitude (team dedication), always be willing to exert full physical effort, and be intellectually alert. Ideally, people should need only themselves to demonstrate these qualities, but immaturity and human weakness sometimes demand that individuals receive assistance in these categories, even though I am uncertain what such aid entails for the first two listed assets.

            If someone does not possess team dedication and constant hustle, how can these qualities be acquired or presented to them? I don’t really know! Perhaps these attributes are innate or from one’s upbringing. What can anyone do externally to implant “character” within a needy person so that his/her success becomes secondary to a team’s welfare? Preaching? Shaming? Providing discipline through punishment? I do know that, if someone needs to hear any words whatsoever at the upper levels of hockey from anyone in order to work at one’s peak, then such a player is immature and a major disappointment. Motivation is internal for all great athletes, and effort is clearly controlled by each individual for himself/herself.

            In order to be intellectually alert, one needs to be able to understand what is developing on the ice and then create the proper response. As we know, some players can clearly see what needs to be done based on occurring events, and others simply cannot “read” the game. Scouting an opponent through various means, studying instructive hockey articles, and receiving excellent coaching could improve intellectual alertness. The ultimate hockey player clearly possesses the highest levels of a superior attitude for team dedication, physical effort, and mental acuity.