Sports can Bring Unity
There is enough animosity and separation in the world that if there wasn’t any sports to lighten things up, to bring people together through healthy competition – this world would be a very sad, boring, hopeless and dark place.
“Sports should be accessible to anyone that wants to participate, play or watch. It should not discriminate nor set any prejudicial requirements around status, wealth or race other than one having the heart and passion to play.”
Sports, whether live, competitive, recreational or league-based allows people to escape the reality of life, responsibilities, errands and mundane tasks for a few minutes, couple of hours or for a few of weeks depending on how long a tournament might be. It allows politically tense situations, cultural differences and inequality to be put aside for the sake of a world tournament that unites over sports such as the FIFA World Cup, FIBA, the Olympic Games, French Open Tennis or NBA Playoffs. Just look at Nelson Mandela’s approach to uniting his country through the Rugby World Cup 1995.
Through such sports as Football aka Soccer, people of all walks of life in South America, Europe and Asia can come together to enjoy and play a match of football at their local pitch, soccer field or an empty parking lot in their village.
Football is considered to be the “poor man’s sports” since all is required is a football, and a space to play, which can have as little as 6 (3 on 3) people playing or as many as 22 people (11s) playing for 20 mins, 45 mins, 60 mins or 90 mins. Football allows people to escape the pressures of life, work and the challenges of reality so that they can come together and unite, regardless of colour, creed, religion or political standing. There is such an amazing atmosphere of unity at such big world sporting events as the FIFA World Cup or Euro Football tournaments, especially in the opening ceremonies or at the start of each match when the two teams enter the field with the little children holding their hands before the respective national anthems are sung. Also the feeling of comradery when fans get together at the local pub, raise their flags in the outdoor patio bars or on the streets to get behind their teams, the pride they feel when supporting their team in such a spectacular event.
As long there is no violence, hooliganism or verbal abuse between the rival team fans, this sport and any sport actually promotes unity and peace across countries and continents. Even in the Spanish La Liga premier league football, there is such a famous rivalry match up between the two big teams in Spain – Real Madrid and Barcelona, that the event has its own name called the “El Classico”. The underlying political undertone is that there is some tension between Madrid (being the Spanish capital) and Barcelona, being the capital of the Catalunia province (which has some minor cultural differences with other areas of Spain) which can be observed when these two teams come together.
“SPORTS HAS THE ABILITY TO BRING UNITY AND PEACE TO A WORLD THAT HAS BEEN DIVIDED AND SEPARATED BY RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS, POLITICAL BELIEFS AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES. THROUGH WORLD SPORTS – WE CAN UNITE AS THE ONE SPIRIT THAT WE ARE!”
It is important in professional sports that the people on top, the players, the overarching associations and media do not lose sight of what really matters, and that it is not about making profits at the expense of the common people, or the high-paying jobs and celebrity status of the professional athletes, sports icons and players but more so about the joy and humbling experience it gives the people and the impressionable children (rising stars) when watching these competitive sports; the bringing together of fathers with sons, friends with friends bonding over a good match, and the excitement of passionate fans watching the live game and more.
One issue I do have when it comes to “high society” sports such as tennis, golf or sailing, is the false divisions of a class society and status that have been put around the sport. It discriminates individuals who enjoy the sport for what it is, as if one must be established and wealthy in order to be accepted into the exclusive Elite group, country club or sailing association. It presents a barrier to the common people by making a sport (that should be accessible to all) an exclusive high-end sport or “rich man’s sport” by setting the status bar high with joining fees, dress codes, premium services and executive privileges/perks packages based on how much one is worth monetary wise. Therefore not being based on one’s heart, skill and pasion for the sport.
One of the most humbling sports icons in today’s era is Rafael Nadal, who stays grounded and humble throughout his entire tennis career. He is never arrogant or insincere, and continues to be thankful for his tennis success, his blessings of being such a gifted player and making himself accessible to his fans through Facebook and his web site.
When the NHL and NBA had the lockout in 2005 and 2012 respectively over costs, salaries and the politics, it highlighted the greediness and insincerity of the overarching associations that run the national leagues and associations, and made the common public question their money-driven motives and intentions for having such professional sports in the mainstream that our children could strive towards. When these sporting events run, everything around it thrives. The guy selling team memorabilia can make a decent living, the family running the local pub can cover their expenses when screening the live games and the children can continue to enjoy striving for their dreams in becoming a professional basketball player, tennis star or football icon.