Once you have read the postulates, it’s worth discussing them in more practical terms. The following questions can assist you in doing that, either by yourself or with other athletes. Ask them, discuss them, and problematize them, in different situations and from different standpoints. Then, take the answers (or uncertainties) you arrive at and go back to the postulate. Does it fit with how you do (or want to do) sport? If not, think about what you might change about that postulate, and then bring that back here.
Click on each postulate to see the discussion points.
1. All are invited to the contest as athletes, and the invitation is permanently renewable.
- Do I feel like I always deserve to be invited to sport?
- At what point am I an athlete? When would I no longer be considered an athlete? Who among us decides that?
- Would I want to challenge someone if I thought their actions or beliefs were disrespectful to others? Does it matter if that disrespect occurs outside of sport, or against other athletes when competing? Why?
- If I participate in a contest against someone that seems vastly different to me, do I feel awkward or ashamed if I defeat them? Or do I feel that way if I am defeated by them? Why?
2. The rules of the contest reflect its ideals, and vice versa.
- What happens if I don’t see a deeper meaning in my sport? Or if I feel a contest is something merely for amusement or entertainment?
- What would make my sport feel more important to me?
- What would make my sport feel trivial or hollow to me?
- Do be an athlete, do I have to take sport seriously? Compared to what?
3. The outcome of the contest is valid only when it is decided on an even playing field.
- Do I feel that behaviors and structures that provide advantages to only certain athletes (even including myself) are acceptable?
- Do they make me look forward to competing?
- Do they help me understand my fellow athletes more?
- Do they make me feel more part of the sporting society?
- How would I feel if I almost always won because I had the best gear or inside information, but if it provided to me by other people?
- How would I feel if I almost always lost because I didn’t get the best gear or inside information from others?
- If I don’t feel comfortable with these things, how would I want it to be?
4. Preparation, strategy and tactics within agreed upon rules and ideals are the only means in which to gain an advantage over one’s competitors.
- Am I training and preparing to improve myself as an athlete?
- Am I trying to disadvantage my opponents through my training and preparation?
- Would I feel dismayed or upset if I knew my opponent was training and preparing like I am?
- Do I look for loopholes or ways to circumvent accepted practice? If so, why?
5. The crowning of a victor is essential.
- How do (or would) I feel about my opponents if I win? If I lose?
- How do (or would) I feel about myself if I lose? If I win?
- How do (or would) I act if I win? If I lose?
- Can I feel satisfied or fulfilled when participating in sports if there is no result?
- How would I explain this postulate to a younger person?
6. One’s best effort must always be given.
- Is it better not to compete than to give a less-than-best performance?
- Is it ok to enter a contest simply to observe or learn about my opponents?
- Can I give my best without revealing my hand (prior to future matches)?
- How do I give my best if my competitor is legitimately weaker than I am?
- What do I do if my competitor doesn’t give their best? Would I want to compete against them again?
7. The competitor is no longer valid as such if he or she diminishes the contest or its other competitors.
- If it seemed like my opponent was intentionally trying to injure me, how would I react?
- Would I want to keep doing sport if I knew that my opponents were out to get me?
- If one of my opponents is injured because of something I did to them, what would I do?
- How do I know when I’ve gone past the limit of challenging, and into diminishing?
8. The contest is no longer valid as such if it diminishes its competitors or their vitality.
- If I am putting myself in harm’s way for the chance to compete, would I do that in any other situation? Why or why not?
- Who am I affecting, beside myself, if I lose my ability to participate in sport?
- Who, in my sport, knows what I am putting myself through? Who do I think cares about it?
- What is my mental and physical health worth to me as an athlete, over the short term? The long term?
- Would my mental and physical health be worth more or less to me, or others, if I wasn’t an athlete? Why or why not?
9. Only those that enter and participate in the contest are entitled to determine its outcome, and its overall development.
- Do the people making the calls in my sport participate in it, at any level? Have they ever?
- When things get decided in my sport, even for a single contest, do I feel like I’ve made a contribution to that outcome? Did I try to? Did I get to?
- How has my sport changed since I started participating in it? Where (and who) did that change come from, and why?
- Do I feel like it’s my duty to be vocal and influential in my sport? Do I feel like it might put me in a bad, or good light?
- Who among my fellow competitors is working to develop our sport in a positive direction? How are they doing that? Are they succeeding?