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Athletes have the opportunity to exercise great Integrity every time they play the game. But, many times we see great athletes result to gamesmanship instead of sportsmanship. They sacrifice their Integrity in order to gain an advantage. But, there are some athletes who do the right thing—even at personal cost.
Here is one example of great Integrity.
The following was written by famed sportswriter Frank Deford:
In May of 2005, Fernando Verdasco of Spain was serving to America’s top player, Andy Roddick. Verdasco had lost the first set and was down 5-3, love-40. Triple match point. He hit deep on the second serve. The line judge called the ball out and Roddick had the match, only Roddick refused to accept the point. Verdasco’s serve had nicked the line, he said. Stunned, the umpire let Roddick overrule him. Verdasco then fought back, held serve, won the set and then the match.
You probably heard nothing about this display of generosity. It barely rated a mention in the American press. Yet, Roddick risked and lost tens of thousands of dollars in a tournament where he was seeded first simply because he felt obliged to be honest….Roddick, by the way, could not have been criticized if he’d simply accepted the bad call. The ethic in modern, big-time sport is that it’s up to the officials to call the game and for the players merely to abide by those decisions even if they know that they have succeeded under false pretenses….
In one moment with victory his for the taking—no, not for the taking—is given, is assumed, Andy Roddick went against the way of the world and simply instinctively did what he thought was right. Once upon time we called such foolish innocents sportsmen.
Andy Roddick lost a lot that day. He lost the point. He lost the set. He lost the match. Plus, he lost tens of thousands of dollars of prize money he would have earned by winning that tournament.
Andersons’ 12 word or less Definition of Integrity
Doing what is good and right and proper, even at personal cost.
Andy Roddick lost a lot that day. But, he strengthened his Integrity, and he won a lot of admirers.
The Bottom Line
Each of the six Habits of Character – Courage, Humility, Integrity, Selflessness, Duty, and Positivity – is like a muscle. The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets.
Andy Roddick exercised great Integrity – even at personal cost. Integrity is not difficult until it costs you something. That is when great Integrity takes over. That is when Leaders of Character step up and do the right thing – even at personal cost.