The Power Of Sport

George Attwood, Assistant Sports Editor

For some people, sports consist of sweaty drama-queen athletes who do no good for the community and earn far too much money. For other people, sports have the power to inspire, unite communities from diverse backgrounds and create hope.

For many, sports are so much more than just a game and competition. They are a great way of uniting people. Sports teams unite people from all walks of life, all united behind their love for a team. Every year on the weekend closest to 9/11, football teams come together and show how patriotic they are and how they aren’t afraid of terrorism or the threats that may present themselves. With American flags that cover the entire fields, the linking of arms between players and servicemen and women and flyovers from American planes, it shows unity for one common cause.

On Feb. 28, the biggest stars in Australian Rules Football played the first state of origin game in over 20 years to raise money for the Bushfire Relief, a charity created to help families that were affected by the Australian bushfires over this past summer. The match exhibited everything that is great about AFL: sharp skills, quick hands, piercing runs and occasional moments of brilliance, all of which were on display throughout Victoria’s 46-point victory over the All-Stars.

Despite the fact that it is currently pre-season, the game was sold out. What was also impressive that the players were prepared to play in pre-season and risk injury. Even though the game was being played for charity, the players were still willing to risk the rest of their season. So the fact that they played shows how much they want to help. There has been a push in recent years for the game to be an annual thing but the players aren’t too keen to play in a game that doesn’t mean anything.

Before the game started, the tone for the evening was set when the players formed a guard of honor for a selection of firefighters, police and SES workers ran through a banner that read: “For those who were impacted, right across the land, with our game we honor you, tonight with you we stand.” This shows the power of sport because only at a sporting event could fan be united for the greater good.

Another example of the beauty of sports is the Soccer Aid event that occurs annually to raise money for Unicef. The event is a friendly-style football match between two teams, England and the Soccer Aid World XI, which are comprised of former professionals and celebrities. Over the seven games, Soccer Aid has raised £38 million for Unicef. No matter which stadium Soccer Aid is held in, it always sells out because of its unique combination of former professionals and celebrities. Football fans enjoy the fact that they can watch Steven Gerrard set up Robbie Williams to score. This only happens at Soccer Aid.

Both of these events show that sports can be so much more than just a game between the white lines or a form of entertainment. These “sweat drama-queen athletes” get together for a way bigger cause than to yell “GOAL” and get a paycheck. They use their visibility and popularity to get thousands of people united for a cause. Because, yes, it is human nature to help someone if one can get something out of it. For instance, you will most likely help a friend move out if they offer to pay for your dinner. People love to prove their haters wrong, so any chance to prove they are not a “sweat drama-queen athlete” they will take.