Masters of respect and sportsmanship

Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera provided some exciting drama at the end of the Masters golf tournament this weekend. These two professionals matched each other shot for shot until the second hole of sudden death, when Cabrera barely missed a putt for birdie and Scott drained his birdie putt. Scott won his first major championship and also became the first Australian to win the Masters.

Cabrera and Scott made some amazing golf shots. But although the golf shots provided great theater, my favorite moment of the tournament was not a particular golf shot or even a swing of the club. My favorite moment came as Scott and Cabrera were walking down the fairway of what would be the final hole of the tournament. Cabrera had just hit his second shot onto the green and would be putting for birdie. With the pressure of Cabrera’s shot weighing on him, Scott hit a beautiful second shot and tucked it in even closer to the hole than Cabrera’s. In a moment of tremendous sportsmanship and respect, Cabrera turned to Scott and gave him a thumbs up, as if to say, “great shot kid.” Scott acknowledged Cabrera with a wave and then returned the thumbs up, recognizing the great shot Cabrera had also hit.

As I watched the gestures of these competitors, I realized how rare it is that we see such outward displays of respect in the heat of competition. Have you ever watched a sports event and seen two competitors acknowledge each other’s performance during the competition? We may see this after the game, but it’s not often that this happens during the intensity of competing. I think that is what made Cabrera’s initial gesture so impressive. Even though he was focused on winning his second Masters green jacket, Cabrera made the effort to acknowledge Scott’s great performance.

Cabrera and Scott were exceptional professionals and sportsmen this past Sunday. They displayed an uncommon level of respect and sportsmanship in a moment of great intensity. As leaders, we have opportunities to model respect for our teams; we have opportunities to acknowledge the great work of our teams; we have opportunities to give a thumbs up and say great job. Do we take advantage of these opportunities? Or do we get so consumed by the intensity of our work that we let these chances slip by? Take a lesson from Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott. Treat everyone with respect (yes even your competitors) and acknowledge the great work around you whenever you have the chance.

Thanks for reading,
Jim

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