Sunday, May 11, 2008

Respect and Responsibility

We had an email float across our screen this week with some words of wisdom based on the teachings of the Dalai Lama. One of the thoughts was to “Follow the 3 “R’s”:

Respect for Self, Respect for Others, Responsibility for All Your Actions.

What a simple yet profound concept; a very few words that carry such an impact.

It seems that sports in general and perhaps swimming more specifically give us a chance to practice this concept; the 3 “R’s”. Swimming is a sport or an activity, depending upon your viewpoint that can be engaged in for a lifetime. Very few football players are even playing touch football at age 50. Yet many folks, masters and fitness buffs a like, can imagine themselves swimming literally for the rest of their lives. They have Respect for Self.

Swimmers tend to be an inclusive group as opposed to some activities that foster exclusivity on the part of members. In this way we have Respect for Others. Lap swimmers and competitive masters support each other nearly universally, at least in our experience.

We encourage the swimmers on our team to be responsible for their swimming careers. Similarly we work to instill that same level of personal awareness in our masters group. In her stimulating book, “5 Steps To A Quantum Life”, Natalie Reid says the first step is to Take Responsibility because you cannot change something unless you are responsible for it. Swimmers know they can do almost anything they want with the sport but that they must do it. No coach or instructor can make it happen. We help facilitate but you wear the suit, put on the goggles and take the plunge.

Perhaps we all could be kinder to ourselves. We often give so much credit – even admiration – to others for their achievements while forgetting that we deserve the same. If you are involved in sport for fun or fitness or competition you are a participant. You are definitely not a spectator. For this fact alone you need to credit yourself, respect yourself.

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