Everyone keeps saying ‘Play for fun, not to win’ but how many of us actually mean it? I have to admit I’m pretty bad at sports. I can play futsal and volleyball, but I’m no where near decent at either because I either end up freezing or giggling whenever a ball comes hurtling my way in the parabolic curve that balls like moving in in sports.
My track events and netball are better, or at least they were better when I did them in school, but team sports always left me bummed.
If the team’s winning, everyone smiles, cheers and claps and if the team’s losing, everyone’s frowning and the silence surrounding a missed shot is resounding to say the very least. Team mates end up yelling or hissing at one another, and words slip out in frustration. Words like “What are you doin?!”, words that wouldn’t mean much except for the tone of voice they were uttered in.
Substitutes are sent in to replace ‘under performers’ and as they run out of the field/court, they smile but in their hearts I’m sure that at least half of them are upset. Upset at letting their teams down and upset that the coach knows that they aren’t good enough to complete the game for the greater good of the team.
There are those who end up picking fights with their opponents and I know that some of these punches are emotion-fueled while some others are cold-blooded calculations to disqualify both their own team and the opposing team.
I’m not making these things up however much I wish that I was…
But there are other excellent incidents which exemplify that the true spirit of sports does in fact live on in us.
Like when the losing team’s players hold hands and do a ‘happy jump’ for a game they played together as a team.
Or when a player I know ran the whole length of a field when the ball he kicked made an opposing player go down. He ran all the way, knelt down, massaged the other guy’s ankle, held the ice bag and each team played with only 10 players in that match.
Or when a sworn enemy began cheering for another girl because she was one smash away from being best over-all player for the tournament.
Or when a player asks another to replace him in the court because he’s missed more shots than he managed to hit and he knows deep down that his team needs that one win to keep their morale up.
When the game becomes bigger than the player and the sport becomes bigger than the score board. That’s when I know that team sports might be one of the greater inventions of man.
The author of this post realises that there is no mention of the big event in the world of football in her post, but she decided to bring it down a notch or two, to a level at which she could relate to the hype surrounding the World Cup. She is going to wear yellow and green and wave the Dutch flag the whole season, even though her friends might have to re-explain what exactly an ‘off side’ means.