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Athletes with class

August 3, 2010 - Paul Giannamore

Not all pro athletes are overpaid jerks getting to be involved with sports the rest of us can only dream about doing for a living.

Just a few days before Big Ben reported to Steelers camp at Latrobe to renew that internal struggle of enjoying the joys of football vs. the creation of primadonnas, an example of on-field sportsmanship occurred where I least expected it.

Actually it was on-track sportsmanship. In Formula 1 auto racing.

For the unfamiliar, F1 tends to breed primadonnas of the worst variety. Two-car teams generally feature one car that is the Chosen One, leading to animosity among teammates.

But in the case of Felipe Massa of the Ferrari team, animosity was abandoned to sportsmanship. Ugly sportsmanship in the form of "team orders" to let his teammate, Ferrari's Chosen One for this year, Fernando Alonso, to pass at the German Grand Prix, when Massa appeared capable of holding Alonso behind him.

After the race, Massa didn't whine, complain or cast aspersions at Alonso. Maybe it's because Massa nearly lost his mind, his head or his life at the Hungaroring in Hungary a year ago when he was hit in the helmet by a flying spring off another car. He's learned to appreciate life, and what's important, while still being a competitive racer.

When he returned to the Hungaroring this year, he went out of his way to thank the corner workers and safety personnel who made it possible for him to be alive and racing one year later by rescuing him from his wrecked car after he was hit by the spring.

That's class. That's reality as it should be, in sport or daily life.

Viva Massa.

And Ferrari too.



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