Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:45
“The Spirit of the Game”. Great phrase. It appears in the FIFA Rules of the Game and many other Rules, Regulations, By Laws and Codes of Behaviour. What does it actually mean? It is a combination of respect, integrity and dignity. There's no dignity in choosing to break the rules when the opportunity arises, or respect for others or yourself in arguing, not to be fair but to gain advantage. Respect also means understanding that, no matter how sure you are that the ball was caught out, someone else's reality may be different, and to accept that disagreement without anger or argument. At the cornerstone of all of this is an understanding that your opponent is not your enemy, that without that team you couldn't play the game. Playing with spirit by no means implies that you don't play to win, but only that you play to win fairly and honestly. The great thing about spirit of the game is that it can be contagious - the more people that embrace it, the easier it is for others to catch. A game filled with spirited players is a great ultimate game. So when an Under 8 coach has his striker standing next to the opposition goal, just because there isn’t an off-side rule, or when you argue or foul, you are outside the tent.