Competing for peace through sports
Today is the heart of the holiday season and while we give and receive, care and share, celebrate and reflect, two of the key greetings or goodbyes we verbalize in our family unions and social meetings and gatherings during this festive time of the year are “good tidings” and “peace on earth.”
Both phrases are mostly used with sincerity and good-meaning, and resonate a warm and comfortable feel, which they should because they’re suppose to be expressions of the human spirit.
Actually, both phrases are one because “peace on earth” would be “good, no, great and the best of tidings” for humanity.
Speaking of peace, I read a humanly reflective soccer piece in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday about a Christmas day during World War I when English and German soldiers, hunkered down in the trenches closely across from each other, engaged in a deadly battle.
There was a pause in the fighting when – with the story passed down over the years from both sides makes the accuracy of the translation not perfectly precise, but – supposedly, the enemies started talking to each other from the trenches and, suddenly, a soccer ball was thrown from the British trench onto the battlefield.
Of course, soccer is the center of the sports universe for most of the world and the English and German soldiers called a peace truce and engaged in a competitive match that wouldn’t lead to a loss of life.
Men, mostly young, from both countries, bitter enemies in war, were now battling on the blood-stained-ground-turned-soccer-pitch and the soldiers were, for that moment, players again.
But, alas, the match, the Christmas day and the peace on earth came to an end, and the players returned to being soldiers and the war continued.
Why couldn’t the two countries, or all countries, continue a string of soccer matches to battle over whatever their fighting for instead of waging violent war which only leads to a large death toll instead of a goal-scoring toll.
The same approach could be used in other competitive sports, as well.
When will humanity come to its surviving senses and make “good tidings with peace on earth” a year-round greeting, or even more, a worldwide slogan to live by.