Shooting from the Hip – Stop these darn things in their tracks

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As another year comes to a closure, it’s the time again to reflect on our achievements and failures while putting remedial measures in place to stay on the straight and narrow in our efforts to rid ourselves of the seemingly unending mistakes and indiscretions.

By now, we all know and fully understand the saying, “Live each day as if it were your last.”  But such a clever line makes us none the wiser. Just imagine what will happen if we follow it to the letter where we will no longer turn up for work or pay the bills. In no time we would be penniless sick and perhaps even behind bars in the tjoekie.

This misleading meaning inherently expresses a deep longing and desire for immediacy. As a people, we tend to place huge value on immediacy – much more than is really justifiable. But “enjoy each day to the fullest and don’t worry about tomorrow” is simply not a smart way to go about life.

Of late, sports in general has been ravaged by a host of unpleasant accusations ranging from bribery, match-fixing and results manipulation by seasoned crooks who work in cahoots with athletes for self-gratification.

Shortcuts amount to hyperbolic discounting – the fact that immediacy magnetizes us is a remnant of our animal past because animals will never turn down an instant reward in order to attain more in the future. One can take dozens of rats through the ropes as much as you like, they are never going to give up a piece of cheese today to get two pieces tomorrow – forget about that!

The ultimate capacity of delayed gratification is a reliable indicator of future career success, so patience is indeed a virtue. Although instantaneous reward is incredibly tempting, hyperbolic discounting remains a flaw.

Yours truly has deliberately chosen the above remarks to tackle the latest damning accusations of results manipulation and allegations of match-fixing in local horse racing.

Some unscrupulous and greedy horse owners stand accused of having made it their sole beat to win by all costs by hook or by crook through injecting the poor and unsuspecting animals with yet to be specified performance-enhancing substances through dirty tactics to make a quick buck.

While we are aware of the commercial and economic dimensions of sport, the involvement of transnational organized crime, doping in sport and the manipulation of sports competitions and corruption are not only a threat to the overall integrity of sport itself but to society at large.

Sports authorities and all stakeholders need to concert their efforts in order to combat threats to the integrity of sport through doping, corruption and the manipulation of sports competitions and this is where one expects the National Sports Commission (NSC) to step up and play a leadership role in federating these efforts.

We need to recognize and accept that results depend primarily on upholding core values such as fair play, achievement by merit and uncertainty of the outcome of competitions in compliance with the general principals and international standards of good governance.

It should also be taken into account that the manipulation of sports competitions requires a coordinated general response from all stakeholders because associations alone cannot  successfully prevent and fight doping, including the manipulation of sports events, particularly when corruption and organized crime are at play. I rest my case.

By Carlos Kambaekwa

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