After the experience of the recent TWIF Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, and having had the privilege to attend the Sport Accord Convention in Aarhus, Denmark, I am once again heartened by the friendships and relationships that exist through sport. Our diverse cultures, personalities, different religions, rivalries and personal ambitions are irrelevant in the face of shared principles manifesting itself within sport.
Floods, droughts, other adverse weather conditions, war and lesser conflicts are with us on a daily basis and is being thrust down our throats by a sensation hungry and frenzied media. Politicians and government officials seems in constant conflict with the very people they are supposed to serve. Clearly the world have huge challenges with finite resources and many hundreds of millions (if not billions) that live below the so-called bread line.
Yes, we have witnessed corrupt sport officials that have enriched themselves at the expense of others. We have seen athletes and coaches, some even with active government support, that have deviously manipulated drug testing and brought the sporting world in disrepute. No wonder the general public are sceptical of the bona fides of many sports .
Yet, these things seems to pale into insignificance when we genuinely join hands through sport. We seem to find common grounds and work together for the greater good automatically. We even communicate effortlessly despite our different languages and level of education. We seem to have a common language in sport. A family.
When we differ, we do so with dignity and respect for one another. Listening to the arguments and viewpoints from others, influences our own views and thinking – and ultimately we tend to find common ground mostly by concensus. I believe this is born from the discipline, ethics and values that participating in sport instills in us all.
I am convinced that ultimately the good guys (and gals) will win. Technology is starting to catch up with fraudsters and crooks. Those amongst us who are competing with the right mind-set, principles and ethos, will continue to enjoy participation in sport in its broadest sense.
Naïve? Idealistic? Perhaps , but what a great planet we will have if that was the reality and approach by everybody in everyday life!
See you soon in Southport, England for the 2017 European Open and World U23 and Youth Championships.
Prepare well and compete fiercely. But always within the realm of what is right and good. With the right attitude, values and principles sport can be a bridge builder in all communities.