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Thanksgiving – Sport

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

We approach another weekend with cricket and rugby both being played at the same time where once there was never any danger of overlap. Is it possible to complain of a glut of too much sport? Well yes, it’s true there seems to be an imbalance between what’s shown on TV and what’s being participated in by the average punter– how many tennis courts and cricket ovals lie empty these days? – but we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

At its best sport is a microcosm of human life. There are traditions and rules to be followed but once those dues have been paid, the players are at liberty to bring the full force of their personality to the game and make it their own. Witness the graceful bowling action of a Michael Holding; the swagger, backed up by supreme talent, of Viv Richards. Whole generations of Australian and English children grew up fearing the thrashings that these players dished out, and yet there would not be one amongst them who wouldn’t concede a grudging love and full appreciation of these West Indian cricketer’s masterful skills.

The other great thing which sport has going for it is the rich background stories of the participants. The ESPN documentary Brothers in Exile tells the story of Livan and Orlando Hernandez (“El Duque”to New Yorkers, and if Holding and Richards have been credited for their style then so too must this man’s artful pitching action). They were two refugee brothers from Cuba who went on to win the World Series Baseball tournament for different teams in a short space of time after escaping from their homeland by boat. An interesting footnote for Catholics in the documentary is the pivotal role Pope John Paul II and Cardinal John O’Connor of New York played in securing El Duque’s family’s release from President Castro (seen at 1:11:00 minute mark). It is the overlaying of these human stories on top of the raw physical contest which so often adds to the tension and drama of sport.

Viv Richards

Viv Richards

Michael Holding

Michael Holding

For all these athletes, who inspire us through the artistry they display or the adversity they overcome, we say thank you.

Previous thanksgiving article: Humility

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

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