Nelson Mandela once said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
Mandela is a legendary South African politiican and activist who realized the unifying power of sports and used them to make changes that he felt diplomacy could not.
For the sports fans out there, think about the feelings that a professional or college sports atmosphere has given you. Think about the excitement, the inspiration, the adernaline rush, and all of the things in between.
Participating in sports or simply just watching sports allows many to learn vital life lessons: humility, persistance, determination, teammwork, and courage - just to name a few. Sports fans watch their favorite players humbly fail and learn humility. They watch their favorite players finally win the World Series after years of waiting, and they are reminded of the importance of patience, hardwork, and hope.
The inside of a sports arena, stadium, or field separates fans from whatever is happening outside, if only for a little while. These three or so uninterrupted hours allow people from all walks of life to come together for one reason: cheering for the team that they love.
Isn't that one of the greatest aspects of sports?
When in this environment, and inside the walls that sports provide, fans are allowed to forget about every conflict that arises in their daily lives. Just for a while, fans are allowed to forget about politics, work, money, school, not getting enough sleep, whatever it is, they are allowed to forget about it.
No matter your race, your gender, your economic income, your past, your present, or your age, sports never leaves anyone out. You are never uninvited from cheering for your favorite team. Sports always leaves a seat at the table for fans.
Unifying and powerful, sports will always allow a nation to become one again.