Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
De of Sportsmanship
Anna had a great year in Soccer. Anna's team, in addition to the privledge of playing on the Galaxy Field, was awarded the Sportsmanship Award. This trophy is about twice as big as any other trophy in the region, because, well, it is twice as important, isn't it?
As the trophies were being handed out at our coach's house, our team's coach surprised the girls with a another BIG surprise. Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Forward Lindsey Tarpley was there to do the honors. Just for us. Just for our girls. How cool is that? I mean, there were our girls with their three-foot-high plastic and mystery-metal trophies next to a real Olympic gold medal. One side of the medal was solid gold, the other had a ring of white jade, a very precious jade with special meaning in China. Jade is a symbol of many De (virtues). Confucius said something like this:
'The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity; its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence; its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice; the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music. Its color represents loyalty; its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity; its iridescent brightness represents heaven; its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth. Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity. The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth. To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: "When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."'
If Confucius had thought about sportsmanship, I think he might have added that to the list of jade's De.
I like to take my kids to unpopular professional sports, like women's soccer. There, the kids really get to see the best of sport. Maybe not any of Kobe's three pointers, but they do get to see a lot of people completely dedicated to their teams and to the goals of the team. They certainly aren't in it for the money. Lindsey Tarpley is dedicated, humble, committed and a gracious example of what I would hope for my daughter. Maybe not in soccer (the first signs of Anna's soccer ability are somewhat doubtful), but in whatever Anna would strive to achieve. Thank you, Lindsey.