This is about much more than sport, please bear with it.
“Sometimes you come up against team driven by a higher purpose.”
Lawrence Dallaglio, former England rugby captain commenting this morning (2/11) on the rugby union World Cup final in Japan which was won by South Africa.
I’m with George Orwell on many things:
“So long as they (the Proles) continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern…Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”
But not on the power of sport to move people for the right reasons. I wanted England to win the rugby this morning (it was evening in Japan), despite not being patriotic, but it soon became apparent that a repeat of the victory over the All Blacks in the semi-final was not on. So we start to move in the direction of emotion. South Africa were the better side and deserved to win. Many will recall the unifying (unfortunately it didn’t last) spectacle of Nelson Mandela with the triumphant South African side winning the 1995 World Cup.
Regular visitors to this site, and thousands of other like-minded sites, will now that by raising their own vibration, by serving all sentient beings with love and kindness they are making a difference. I suppose the next level of aggregation, having been a “change agent” in a previous life, are organisations. If you change significant organisations to be driven by truth and love then you are getting even greater leverage. However it is almost impossible for an organisation to impact on a nation like mass spectator sport can, e.g. rugby and football. I suppose for many it has an impact on their national identity. For me-I should have included this in my list-it is yet another way of connecting. Fair-minded commentators like Dallaglio above know this but would never express it (I may be doing him a disservice) in ways that appear here.
Yesterday I was engaged in a brief discussion about Berlin. It is not a place I have visited but am an ardent fan of fictional Berlin private eye Bernie Gunter. Very occasionally I will watch “Football Focus” on the BBC. And they had a piece earlier about an emergent club from East Berlin called Union Berlin. I strongly recommend you watch this short, hugely inspirational film.
The emotions that are stirred when individuals inspire us, are also stirred if we are extremely lucky to work for an organisational culture or even a visionary individual manager. Despite the endless clichés, sport does have the capacity to transcend boundaries. It gives us a glimpse of a world without conflict, disease and all the other impediments visited upon us.
It never ceases to amaze me how the people of historically oppressed nations, like the Irish, the Greeks, the South Africans, and the Armenians to name a few I am familiar with, are amongst the most forgiving and wonderful on this planet. Individual and collective grief and loss always has the potential to transform. Competition is a reality in this 3-D world and as long as competition exists we will have losers. To lose with grace is as much part of life as winning with pride. There have only been a handful of people in existence who retired from their sport undefeated. One thing is certain however, that at some stage in the lives of these exceptional people they will have suffered some form of personal tragedy. I’m not sure you can apply the term “winner” when this occurs.
Life goes on. I am a Liverpool Football Club supporter, these days an armchair fan because I haven’t been to the home ground Anfield for many years. In May 2018 Liverpool were beaten in the final of the most prestigious of all club competitions, the Champion’s League, by Real Madrid. A year later Liverpool won the competition. Forgive me but the club’s manager, Jürgen Klopp is a highly spiritually evolved person who stresses the team ethic above all else.
Gambling and sport can serve as an anaesthetic to the masses and those running the system know this. But they have yet to devise a way to make games attractive without a crowd. And the crowd is the catalyst for the emotions I have been describing. And one of the most telling comments was made by the chairman of Union Berlin when he said that the fans, the team and the club were all one.
We may have some way to go as a species but please pay attention to glimpses of what is possible and celebrate the emotions generated when mass spectator sport gets it right.
Jack Stewart, still plugged into a source of inspiration, November 2, 2019.