Somethings Sports

Why Sports Matter—Weekly Wisdom 27th October 2021

“Of all the unimportant things, [sport] is the most important.” – Pope John Paul II (supposedly)


Something different this week. Instead of sharing a few quotes, I will just discuss one topic. Hope you enjoy this break. If you are reading this on the web, then subscribe now to get the best of my notebook every week.

The Most Important Unimportant Thing

This past Sunday, the 24th of October, Pakistan defeated India in a T20 Cricket World Cup game. To those not familiar with the history, this was the first time Pakistan defeated India in any World Cup. Ever. And it wasn’t just a win. It was a complete thrashing.

The long term geopolitical and sporting rivals attract a huge audience. Upwards of a billion people watched the match. As with all sporting rivalries, this game was fodder for memes.

People on the Pakistani side had a lot of fun at the expense of Indian media and Sports personalities. In all that, this tweet stood out:

Tweet by @ShehzadGhaias

Cricket is inconsequential in the practical sense. All sports are. There is very little value in hitting a ball with a stick, or kicking the ball or running very fast. You can dismiss them as cheap escapism. However, is there anything wrong with escape?

The only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.

—JRR Tolkein

Life after love

However, I would argue that sports provide more than just escape. They provide you a tribe. More than that, they give you hope. It inspires you. The Pakistan team going into the game was not much better than Pakistan the country; two major tours were cancelled because of ‘sEcUrItY cOnCeRns’, the coaching team quit mid-contract term, and there were recent administrative upheavals. Yet they not only won against stronger, more experienced team, but they destroyed them.

If a sports team dealing with institutional issues can still come out on top, then maybe you can too. Maybe there are no mountains that are insurmountable. Maybe all you need to do is to try and climb.

Thank you.

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