Long distance runners set example for others

A couple of events have dominated sports talkback radio for the last couple of weeks.

The first involved ball tampering in cricket. The vast majority agreed that Smith, Warner and Bancroft had done the wrong thing and deserved to be punished.

Those people were split on whether the punishment was manifestly harsh, reasonable or a bit soft. My own personal view is that a test series was long enough, with maybe another two series suspended for the next two years.

Despite the fact that all three have announced they will not appeal their punishment, I would not be surprised if there wasn’t another twist to this tale.

The second incident didn’t happen on the sporting field, but Israel Folau has raised a lot of eyebrows with his Twitter response to a question about God’s plans for gays.

“Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God,” was Izzy’s response.

Aussies Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings wait to congratulate Lesotho’s Lineo Chaka.

Again the response on talkback radio has been hectic. Some are saying as a Christian, he is entitled to his opinion and would not have been true to himself or his beliefs had he responded in any other way.

Again, I can understand both sides of the argument. I am a Christian myself. I must admit that while I have read a few passages of the Bible, I have never read the Bible from front to back.

It is also a book written about events that happened 2000 years ago and is open to interpretation among Christians. While googling what the Bible says about homosexuality, I found one verse that basically said sinners (including homosexuals) will not inherit the Kingdom of God unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.

Just think about those two views for a second. One says you will go to hell, the other says you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. To most Christians, both have the same meaning, but the second sounds much less harsh and judgemental.

The other sporting incident that caught my eye was at the Commonwealth Games and involved runners Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings of Australia and Lineo Chaka of Lesotho.

After the three Aussie runners finished the 10,000 metre event in 6th, 8th and 16th respectively, they waited on the track for Chaka to finish, over five minutes after the winner.

Instead of heading straight for family and friends to celebrate their own achievements, they quietly waited until the final athlete crossed the line to congratulate her.

That is what sport should be about. Recognising the achievements of your opponents, not trying to break the rules to gain an unfair advantage. It is about being inclusive of all athletes, not being disrespectful.

What a pity some of our elite cricketers and rugby players don’t act a bit more like some of our long distance runners.

I would love to hear your views.

And remember, there’s no such thing as too much sport!

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by long-distance runners, and it’s the same with everyone else. So while I’m not all that great regarding long-distance running, there’s this hope that I will be.

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