ARJUN PEREIRA, a sports enthusiast says that many of the rules in sport reflect our deepest spiritual goals
Sports is big business. Glittering trophies, glory, fame, glamour, media coverage, PR and other factors are key to all sports. It is entertainment of the highest order and means money, celebrities, showing off and unapologetic ego trips.
However, the actual tradition of sports goes back thousands of years suggesting that we have a lot in common with our ancestors through the glories, trials and tribulations of sport. As research shows, one of the original purposes of sport was military training, which tested athletic skills, endurance as well as focused on team-building activities.
If we delve into our past memories, we perhaps will recall the gory scenes, loud roars, cheering, mayhem and excitement at any ‘sporting event’ at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Over thousands of years, sports has now developed into the mega spectacle that it is today. Certainly, some sports are more popular and some are less and still have to come into their own.
Sporting events unite people across the globe and one cannot deny the impact it has on the lives of young children, teenagers, the elderly and everyone in between.
At any football match, for example, the loud cheering, boos, chants, songs and the loyalty for one’s club or country is almost like a spiritual event. Why do we, as individuals, gravitate or develop a liking for certain clubs and teams while ignoring the rest?
Is it that one has been linked to that city or country in a previous life? It might be so or it might just be that the team we support is a manifestation of what one wants to be like in one’s own life.
Or is that sports is merely a distraction from the daily challenges of life, albeit a healthy one? Or, perhaps, it is a distraction for us to not confront our spiritual destinies or in other words to not work towards our spiritual journey because we would rather spend time playing and watching the sports we so dearly love?
However, here is the positive side to sports that is commendable. Many of the rules in sport reflect our deepest spiritual goals. For example, in football, one has to score a goal by fair means, by placing, pushing or striking the ball into the goal. A referee ensures that one does not win by cheating or injuring other opponents. Perhaps, this is what one needs to follow in real life including not damaging the feelings of our ‘opponents’ in real life.
If one tries to get to this goal, either through unfair means or by trying to prevent other players by using unfair means, then one is awarded or penalised with a ‘penalty’ and the other team gets a relatively easy chance to score.
I am giving here the example of football, but every sport such as cricket, basketball, volleyball, tennis or badminton has certain restrictions that you need to respect and not cross ever. Perhaps, these are reminiscent of restrictions in real life where every action is restricted by a certain set of moral and ethical codes and rules and there is never absolute freedom to do anything that one pleases.
A simple example is that when you work at an office, you are supposed to follow certain timings, codes of conduct and complete your work on time.
Similarly, or allegorically, in real life, good manners, politeness, humbleness, punctuality and an optimistic disposition go a long way in helping you to reach your goals.
The happy part is that within these restrictions and barriers, whether in real life or in the sport that you play, you are free to do anything you want to develop more skill, agility, speed, mastery and finesse to score over your other opponents. This is the true beauty of the competitive merit of sport and this is the reason perhaps why everyone enjoys watching and cheering at sporting events. There are freedoms even among barriers!
And that is the key takeaway you take home with you after watching an exciting match. Rules have to be followed at all times, even when this one line governs sports and much of life: All is fair in love, (sports) and war.
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