Sport means so much too so many people across the world. People watch, analyze and play all forms of sport. Sport can be a powerful teaching tool in the right hands but also a useful tool to de-stress for people with stressful lives.
For children, sport is an essential part of growing up. It can help develop a healthy lifestyle as well as promote healthy bone and muscle growth. It is at this stage of life that we are most able to take in new information and it’s therefore vital that coaches understand their role in their player’s lives. Not all children come from the same home space and this can be difficult for coaches to deal with especially at a younger age when kids don’t yet understand that sort of thing it is the coaches job to help them all understand the rules of the game they are playing to help teach children discipline and team work, even in an individual sport you still need to work well with trainers and coaches because talent alone is not good enough. It’s also important in the early stages of children starting sports that the coach makes it fun for them without forgetting the fundamentals of the game they are playing but fun is the most important thing. That is what can take a child from a broken home to superstardom. The more children we have playing sport from different backgrounds the better the world will become. Sport can transcend race and religion and it’s the one thing that most humans have in common. Sports can also be used as a tool to fight against all forms of injustice.
We’ve already seen sport heal a nation. Look at the example in 1995 when South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup. Having only recently abolished Apartheid it was important to Nelson Mandela for South Africa to host the world cup and to make the rest of the world aware of the changes going on in South Africa. I am a bit too young to know what it was like back then but from what I hear it was much like when we hosted the Soccer World cup here as well. We were a nation united as one celebrating being African and celebrating with our brothers regardless of race and religion. All this became possible through sport. So, you see it can be a powerful tool to fight the good fight, in the right hands.
Sport can also be used in another more sinister way; Look at the case of Colin Kaepernick. Colin wanted to send a message to not just the NFL but to America. To say that the killing of unarmed black men by police is out of control so he decided that he would take a knee during the singing of the national anthem in protest against police brutality. Somewhere along the line the message was distorted, and politics were involved and it somehow became a military issue as well when all Kap wanted was for his people not to suffer at the hands of the police. He was suspended by the NFL and released by his team. He has since won a settlement with the NFL for an undisclosed amount of money but is yet to play in the NFL again. Teams say it’s for football reasons that they haven’t signed him but when he was released Kap was one of the best quarterbacks’ in the league so I don’t buy that excuse. He has not been signed for football reasons and that is the ugly side of sport and who controls the sport behind the scenes.
For me sport has always been a part of my life. I started playing soccer at a young age and never looked back. Sport for me has given me so much. It has always been there for me. When I’ve gone through tough times in my life, I’ve used it as a healthy distraction to correct my path. Sport for me now is my career and I couldn’t be happier. It’s something I am extremely passionate about and it’s something I hope to use as an educational tool, to help people realize there is a better way to live. That we can get past racism, patriarchy and prejudice. We can all find common ground in sport in some way, shape or form and it is in that common ground that we can have peace. So, my question to you is; what does sport mean to you?