The Use of Fair as a Verb

This entry is part 5 of 28 in the series Leadership

The word fair came up today in a discussion that made me want to do a little more research. So I did. There are a number of definitions for the word “fair”.

Here’s one that is pretty interesting to me for a couple of reasons
To make the connection or junction of (surfaces) smooth and even. (

Here’s another one:
To bring into perfect alignment. (

The word is used in the context of shipbuilding. (Go Builders!)

We think of the word fair as an adjective. “That’s not fair.” Or maybe as a noun. “Let’s go to the fair.” Or may as an adverb. “I was treated fairly.”

I think as coaches it is our job to fair our teams.  Some players need more fairing than others. In other words, some players are more “out of alignment” than other players. Every player plays a different role.  These two variable require different “fairing” techniques and strategies.

Maybe one player who is usually a good kid makes a really bad mistake. It might not take as much to fair them back with the team. Or maybe that same player makes a very minor mistake. Yet, we might choose to make an example of them in order to “fair” someone else.

If we can get away from thinking of the word fair as an adjective or fairness as a noun, we might be able to have a bigger impact on our teams.  What if we tell them that we are “fairing” them? What if we tell them we are working to get them “perfectly aligned?” What if we tell them we are trying to make them “smooth and even?”

Isn’t this what we want in a team? Every part of a ship serves a different role. Some “bigger” than others, yet all necessary. Isn’t it our job to get our teams put together just the right way given the parts and pieces that we’re given?

Maybe if we change how we use the word, our teams will change how they think about the word.

I challenge you to turn the word “fair” into a verb. That is unless you’re going with your family to the fair for some funnel cakes and cotton candy.

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