Sport is where we’ll find the answer for troubled times

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by Joe Duggin, FreshReporter

The recent charges levelled at Sir Allen Stanford for fraud amounting to around $8 billion have thrown a cumbersome spanner in the fragile works of English cricket and have unfortunately overshadowed an exciting tour of the West Indies.  Sir Allen’s alleged exploits are deeply concerning yet they may, in the long term, help cricket and sport in general distance itself from the monetary greed that distracts from sport’s nascent mystique.

In the ‘current climate’ (the phrase many like to use when referring to the recession) people need, more than they have for a while, sport’s heroic stories of triumph over adversity, comebacks and its ability to surprise and entertain.

Recently we have been given a timely reminder that it is possible to recover from seemingly impossible situations.

[caption id=”attachment_1922” align=”alignright” width=”150” caption=”Eduardo’s comeback from his horrific leg break has been inspirational”][/caption]

Eduardo’s return for Arsenal in the FA Cup replay last week was the classic tale of a man cut down in his prime then returning, after months of rehabilitation, to his rightful place at the top of the game.  His brace against Cardiff was a memorable moment for all those who witnessed the gruesome scenes when his leg was snapped in half last February; many believing that would be his last appearance as a professional footballer.

Tiger Woods’ comeback may not have been quite as romantic – knocked out in the 2nd round of the World Golf Championship – but his victory on one leg at the US Open last June was a reminder of his remarkable ability to persevere and triumph in exceptional circumstances.

[caption id=”attachment_1921” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Black power: An iconic image in sport”][/caption]

Throughout history sport has managed to create something out of the ordinary that inspires.  Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ infamous protest at the Mexico City Olympics and Ali’s objection to the Vietnam War demonstrated the enduring power of sport as a tool of social progression.  In the ‘current climate’ the responsibility of sport to acknowledge and stand up for civil and human rights is imperative if society is too recognise that money is not the be all and end all and that there are other things in life of equal importance.

If sport can learn from cricket’s Stanford incident and resist jumping to the quick buck, its long-term future will be much more stable.  But whilst we wait for this unlikely shift in focus we must look to sport to remind us that humans have an uncanny ability of creating their best performances in times of adversity, something that the ‘current climate’ desperately asks for.

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