Friday, February 21, 2014

Sportsmanship: A Lesson in Civility from George Washington

I watched the Olympics last night to see the ladies skating long program. Of course, they all are excellent, and as perfect as can be. The scores reveal judging only 10th of points apart! They have all labored over many years to get to the Olympic ice. They all have technical skill but it is the deliverance for a performance that will be remembered. Some of these women have such grace and maturity. I felt the Korean girl expressed this. An Olympic gold champion from the Vancouver games, she was trying for back to back wins. This was her last performance, and she was beautiful with such civility. New girls are coming on all the time, some so very young - sixteen or seventeen. They will have their day, but you can see greatness. They are from many nations, including our own, the USA. But then there are some like US Ashley Wagner, who could learn a less from George Washington in civility and grace.

In 1744, Washington published a dissertation of the rules of civility and decent behavior in company and conversation. Thought the list goes on and on, here are a few that come to mind for Ashley. She is an excellent skater, but she is a winer, complaining that she didn't like the early short program scores, grimacing, thinking she was better than that, and then last night she made a huge display of herself when she completed her program, patting herself on the back, so to speak. Then the scores came, and she was displeased. Today she criticizes the judging. Give me a break. I'm sure these girls know how to play the game, having skated for years. I'm sure the home field has an advantage, but if you're, you're great. If you are transcendent, it shows.

So, here goes, Ashley:
1) Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
2) Show not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
3) Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.
4) Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time & Place convenient to let him him know it that gave them.
5) Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for 'tis a Sign of a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion admit Reason to Govern.
6) Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.

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