Monday, October 8, 2007

On not reducing sports to a mere search for results..

In addressing the Alpine ski team, Pope Benedict XVI said:

"....when sport is practiced in the right spirit, and with respect for dignity, it helps to promote the development of the person.
Sport helps man to consider his own capacities as a talent and his life as a gift of God. Even when sport is practiced at high levels, it is important to maintain an inner harmony between body and spirit in order not to reduce it to a mere search for results."

The Pope also spoke of virtues "which must always characterize sporting activity: tenacity, a spirit of sacrifice, interior and exterior discipline, ... as well as a sense of justice, awareness of one's own limits and a respect for others. All virtues for which you must train yourselves in daily life."

[visual description: Three young wheelchair racers push their racing wheelchairs during a race on a track.]


Kat said...

Thank you for this post. My son, who has autism, is playing football this year. We knew going into it that despite his apparent physical appropriateness for the sport (he's a big, strong kid) he would probably never be a candidate for the NFL. People told us not to sign him up... he may not be "good" they said. But... there seemed to be so many other, less quantifiable reason for him to play--sportsmanship, pushing past one's own comfort zone, teambuilding, leadership, personal bests....

Just showing up and being part of the team is an accomplishment for him. I'm so proud of him. And beyond that--his participation has shown me the grace of some of his teammates. To watch a 10-year-old boy high-five my son, or help him find his spot on the field, or cheer for him... all these things give me renewed faith that there is a place in the world for my son.

Ruth said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I've seen so many children play wheelchair tennis over the years and know that participation in sports is about so many things - as you say in your comment- that also work toward inclusion.