Commercial and bureaucratic hindrances collided with an uncontrollable reality: the faith of many players.
God has taught us to pay all that we owe, and to give honour to those who deserve it.
It was one of the most dramatic pages in the history of cycling: the Tour de France of 1971 with EDDY MERCKX the eventual winner.
When LUIS OCAÑA decided to attack a stage he left 61 riders powerless! Merckx was more than 10 minutes behind and Ocaña was virtually assured of victory in the Tour. However, only five stages before the end, Luis Ocaña fell in a descent and was unconscious for more than one hour. Merckx did not want to put on the leader's yellow shirt the following day.
Crying, he said: "The victory does not belong to me." It was a great lesson in sportsmanship.
These days, a sporting spirit is one of the most difficult things to find. There is a type of enthusiasm in people which is a misunderstanding of the game. It says that everything that does not feel good, must be bad. And that is the reason for so many disasters at sporting events.
People forget that the event is simply a game, and increasingly see it as life itself. They are even able to kill for a simple goal, for a simple game... for a triviality. It is just not possible to win at any cost. Neither in sport, nor in any aspect of life.
The ends do not justify the means: we cannot do anything, and certainly not play with the life of the others, only for the purpose of winning.
To win a match, to gain a position, to obtain money - many seek to win at whatever cost, and that demonstrates the kind of people they are: people who do not even deserve the opportunity to play.
God has taught us to pay all that we owe, and to give honour to those who deserve it. We must recognise and respect others for what they are and do.
If somebody has done something very well, it deserves our admiration. If somebody has played better than us, then that deserves our respect. If some has behaved in an honourable way, we should thank them... even publicly.
A good Christian is one who knows how to admire the good in others. A good sportsperson has learnt to applaud the good play of their opponent.
A good fan enjoys the good games, come what may. One cannot live without honouring those who deserve honour... because the one who deserves it most of all is God himself.