It is September, which in Sportual terms, is a fiesta of sport, from youth travel leagues to high school and collegiate competition, to the intersection of the summer and fall professional sports of baseball, football, golf, and soccer. Diana Nyad has just completed an historic swim from Cuba to Key West at age 64, especially inspiring millions of us card-carrying AARP members. Sport is within and throughout our days, mine included, as my Division III volleyball team has recently begun competing for my 30th season at Kalamazoo College. However, all of this is irrelevant in the wake of the greater, global, military competition. The following picture can help shift this paradigm of us and them to “we” in a hurry.
“We” are small compared to all that is. And “we” are here to work on our relationship to each other and toward the greater good. With all that’s happening in the Middle East, Syria in particular, “we” must find a way to work with the other, as ultimate teammates, working toward a more peaceful world, or we shall all continue to live in a war-based world. Andrew Carnegie is known to have said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision; the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” On September 2, 2013, at noon EST, there was a call for 10 minutes of collective prayer for the growing unrest in Syria, and for the US to cease from military action. This is a time when we are all teammates, that is, part of something much greater than ourselves, asking consciously for a peaceful outcome to these atrocities. We are all ‘the common person,’ and together our focused minds can direct humanity’s thought toward uncommon results. We accept war because we’ve always known war. Peace, love, compassion, and forgiveness are uncommon results – thoughts – not unlike the thought of killing each other over differing ideas.
Sportuality asks that we understand the word “competition” to mean “to work with” rather than “against” – that we seek to find the joy in these games; in this life…and joy is never an outcome of war.