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What Does it Mean to Show Honor?

By Steve Silverman

Showing honor in sports can be quite rare. In the case of professional and big-time college athletics, money, awards, glory and scholarships are the usual motivations. Performing your sport with honor usually means sacrificing personal glory for the good of your team or the good of another individual on the team. Those who play with honor deserve recognition.

Displaying Dignity

Perhaps no athlete ever showed more dignity under difficult circumstances than former New York Yankee Lou Gehrig did on July 4, 1939. Gehrig, known as "The Iron Horse," was diagnosed with amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that season. The fatal condition robbed Gehrig of his strength and muscle control and forced him to retire from baseball after playing 2,130 consecutive games. When Gehrig learned that the condition was fatal, he faced his condition with courage. The Yankees honored him with a day in his honor, and Gehrig took the microphone and delivered a speech for the ages. "You may have heard I have received a bad break," Gehrig said. "But today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Gehrig's tone showed his courage and dignity. ALS is now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Sacrifice for Others and Team

There are many athletes who are lionized for their achievements and personalities. There are many more who never find the spotlight and sacrifice for others. This is especially true in football where offensive linemen sacrifice their bodies for the good of the quarterback, running back and wide receivers. Blockers rarely get the credit for the work they do, yet that work is invaluable when it comes to success.

Helping Young Players

It's a fact of life in professional sports that young players replace older ones. In football, for example, a team will bring in a young quarterback to replace a veteran. The veteran knows this, and in the final year or two of his career he will regularly share his knowledge and experience with the young player who will replace him. This is one of the most honorable traits any individual can show. It will eventually cost him his job and his money, but he teaches his understudy for the good of his team. Not only is this honor, this is class and dignity.

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