Here's an interesting observation. Not one rule book on any sport in the world states that the object of the game is to "win". For example, the official 2009-2011 rule book of USA Hockey states the following, "The goal of USA Hockey is to promote a safe and positive playing environment for all participants while continuing to focus on skill development and enjoyment of the sport."

But ask nearly anyone what they think the purpose of hockey, football, soccer, baseball or any sport in the world is and they will most likely say "to win". Like the purpose of their life. It's all about winning, being #1! Getting the gold, being on top. Finishing first!

But this author has a different take. In my book the object of all sport and life is to "play" according to the rules. Ethics and fair play are numero uno. It's amazing how many athletes engaged in sport have never read the rule book on their own game. Here's a hint. Read the rule book first. If you don't want to play according to the rules then don't play.

But if you do want to play and agree to play by the rules, then play to the best of your ability for "fun" with great skill. When the game is over, a winner will be is declared. Great! But just for that game, for that one day. That's it. Game over. Move on.

Winning is the effect of an action, the outcome, not the cause or purpose of sport. We're all still the same inside at the end of the day, win, lose or draw. Good or bad. The difference is in the spirit of sport compared to the business of sport. Like the spirit of law compared to the letter. The business of sport has clouded the true meaning of sport, but in the spirit world of sport where honorable men and women find themselves, the true original meaning of sport remains unchanged.

Do you know the definition of sport? I mean what the word actually means. If you look up 'sport' in Webster's New World dictionary, it's first defined as "any activity or experience that provides enjoyment or recreation", and then goes on to include activity by way of bodily exertion. It also mentions both fun & play as vital components.

Sport is a derivative of Middle English 'sporte', which is short for 'disporte', and is translated from Old French 'desport', meaning pleasure, and from 'desporter', meaning to divert.

In terms of ancient history and tradition, sport was viewed as a non-essential form of pleasure utilized by men & women to distract them from the hardships and serious side of life.

Sport provided entertainment and created a physical means of enjoyment to help people cope with the burden of living. Today, watching and playing sport has become a national pastime for millions of people of all ages worldwide. But it is much more than that.

Sport has evolved into a huge commercial business that involves governments and some of the world's largest corporations, all of which are intimately connected to refined food.

Those who play strictly to win will often do whatever it takes to win, including using banned substances or violence with calculated and premeditated intention.

Those who play for fun, for the true purpose of sport, will seldom cheat, take drugs or abuse people including themselves. Those who love sport and play for the love of the game cannot tolerate people who cheat or use violence. Violence destroys the virtue of true sport.

So if the organizers and promoters and fans of organized sport tolerate violence, or abusive and disrespectful behavior from athletes, then any player with a shred of self-respect, honor and integrity, will naturally be forced to withdraw from playing that style of game and play elsewhere. Who then remains on the field?

Business and life and sport are all one and the same. Do you cheat in your marriage? Do you take advantage of your customers or mistreat your employees? Do you cut corners for profit at the expense of quality? Do you lie to your children or verbally abuse your siblings? Do you play to win no matter what the cost, then justify it with fame or fortune?

Sport doesn't build character, neither does business or life. It only reveals it.

My friends, don't you know it's IMPOSSIBLE to win? I don't mean the sports people play or the businesses people run. Think bigger than that. Open your mind. Elevate your thoughts. Someone once said, "Live your life like it's already over." So here goes. In the hands of time we're already gone, so winning, as it is commonly perceived, becomes irrelevant, non-essential, unimportant.

You might be alive this minute, but soon, and much sooner than you think, you're parking spot will be empty. Poof! The greatest and least understood disappearing act in the history of the world. Soon, very soon, you'll be six feet under, resting quietly in an urn or blowing about in the wind, and in 100, 500 or 10,000 years, no one, not one single soul, will know you ever existed.

Relatively speaking, life is nothing more than a vapor of gas. A brief moment in time. So get over it. Embrace the unknown, and to quote a great line from the Shawshank Redemption "Get busy living or get busy dying".

Stop trying to win for the sake of it. I didn't say stop trying to improve or do better or succeed or strive for excellence. I said stop trying to win for winning sake. Are you really that insecure? Instead, start being nice. Put down your fists, your weapons, guns and knives, and start living. Have some fun. Be yourself. Enjoy the game.

Here's a switch. Play by the rules of health. Stop hurting yourself and other people. Get well. Make health and true wellness a top priority. Get into fitness. Take some vitamins. Eat some really good nutritious food. Pursue a life that fulfills YOUR curiosity and heart's desire without hurting anyone in the process. Do no harm. That's the first rule of natural medicine. It's also the first and last law of a truly moral man.

Nobody wins in the game of life. It's impossible. I'm talking BIG PICTURE here. Philosophical stuff. What is it about winning anyway? Do you really think you're going to live forever? By the way, what is your view on death, specifically your own? Do you see it as a victory, a loss, an end to suffering, a new beginning, a huge release, a transfer of biological energy into the ether?

So stop wasting time. Stop trying to "win". Instead, LIVE in freedom with purpose and direction. Enrich your life with wholesome experiences. Spend time with your family. Play and compete in sport as a true sportsman, a true man or woman of honor. Get into the game, express your passion, create undeniable skill and play for the sake of the game. Remember, the meaning of life is to live with meaning.

It's time to redefine what winning actually means. "Winning" is irrelevant when your soul is satisfied by playing the game of life without contempt or in a hostile manner. It's a different kind of winning that the world doesn't seem to understand. Winning is letting go. Winning is contentment. Winning is not caring if you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Don't be concerned or afraid of what other people think. Be true to yourself. Be your own guru, your own consultant. Live your life in peace and go about your business with benevolence. Every "winner" is the same as every "loser". The only difference is how people treat you and how you think about yourself.

If you never play to win, but play hard and clean and "lose", you won't suffer the terrible disappointment those who played to win but lost often feel. Imagine spending the rest of your life thinking you're not good enough because you didn't win. Winning is nothing and everything. It all depends on how you look at it.

Photo by Samantha Hurley from Burst

As always, stay well and live free.