Last month I was asked to join a panel at a Celebrate Sport event held at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Perth – http://www.perthcatholic.org.au/news-events/view_article.cfm?loadref=10&id=347
The gathering was to discuss the importance of faith in sport.
The opportunity got me thinking about the importance of sport in our society.
One of my observations after nine years involved in professional sport is that the entire pursuit can often seem meaningless without a reference point. For those who believe, God offers that very important point of reference.
For what does it mean to conquer the whole world but lose one’s soul?
I’ve sat in locker rooms with players after losing a grand final game and after winning a grand final game. At both such supremely momentous occasions, there are always those that wonder if there was something more.
If the dedication, the discipline and the sacrifice was all worth it?
Sometimes it may well seem meaningless if there is no greater purpose.
Even for those that don’t believe in God, it is critical that athletes and teams seek a higher cause.
In our case we encourage giving back by engaging with the community in a meaningful way.
Our organisation is often lauded (and sometimes ridiculed) for the level of commitment we require from our athletes. But so far, at least, the feedback from all concerned is that such off-court activities give the organisation and all those in it a sense of the greater good.
It is a very lonely existence for any athlete or team, when they win and have no one to share their success with. It is even worse to lose alone and in solitude.
Sport must never be an isolated pursuit!
Athletes and teams must always be embedded in their community. They need supporters and fans and must seek to always engage with them.
Only then will winning and losing have context. Celebrations are meaningful when you have someone to share them with and losses are never as painful when you have someone to pick you up and spur you on for the next challenge.