Without sport, life on earth would be hell

Cosmopolitism is utopian, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The worst failure is not trying. Like a sportswoman striving to be the best at her pursuit, if she doesn’t make the stars, she may land on the moon. What an achievement that would be! Because at least she is striving for something. Striving for a global community that is accepting and cares for ALL human beings should not be discarded in the too hard basket. If we fall somewhere short, life will be better than not trying at all.

Patrick Stewart Eating his first ever pizza slice. Posted on twitter by @sirpatstew on 29/5/13 and retweeted more than 3.5-thousand times.
Patrick Stewart eating his first ever pizza slice. Posted on twitter by @SirPatStew on 29/5/13 and re-tweeted more than 3.5-thousand times.

The response to this photo on twitter highlights the homogenisation of our society (‘how can a 71-year-old never have had a pizza slice!’), in a medium that has contributed to globalisation, two concepts cosmopolitanism shuns.

Image courtesy afl.com.au

This is Sydney Swans player, Adam Goodes, in a promotion for the Australian Football League’s (AFL) 2013 indigenous round. During the first game of the round, in the dying minutes of his club’s clash with Collingwood, Goodes was called an ape by a member of the crowd. He left the field and didn’t return to celebrate the win with his mates. Here’s why calling a person with dark skin an “ape” hurts. Here’s why this event matters.

2013-05-26 14.40.58
Photo: Keiran Deck

How can people fight, but still love? These two Caucasian athletes hit each other using the skills of a Korean martial art for two 2-minute rounds. After the winner was announced, they embraced each other with big smiles.

“You can’t give real meaning to the idea that we’re all fellow citizens if you can’t affect each other and you don’t know about each other” (Appiah 2008, p.87).

Like anything, it’s not as simple as it sometimes may seem.

Image courtesy Fairfax Media

Sport’s lessons of acceptance, mateship, teamwork, effort and reward are all traits one can expect to harbour from sport participation. They are all traits encouraged in an individual living in a successful democratic society. Yet still, there’s exclusion.

“Emphasis on patriotic pride is both morally dangerous and, ultimately, subversive of some of the worthy goals patriotism sets out to serve – for example, the goal of national unity in devotion to worthy moral ideals of justice and equality” (Nussbaum, 1994, p. 1).

Emphasis on team pride is both morally dangerous and, ultimately, subversive of some of the worthy goals sporting clubs set out to serve – for example, the goal of club unity in devotion of a good game.

Image courtesy environmentalgraffiti.com
Image courtesy DailyTelegraph.co.uk. The picture accompanied the headline “United fans clash with riot police”.

Sport can create devastating societal divisions.

“If individuals have developed a strong identification with a group, they will be particularly concerned with the well-being of the group, and this concern will therefore be particularly strong” (Opp, 2012, pp. 75-76).

Image courtesy Disney (c)

Group identification, according to Opp (2012), is human nature. What has to change for cosmopolitism to be a reality is for everyone to identify with the human race. Perhaps if intelligent life was found on another planet then, with the existence of a greater other, we would be more accepting of our own cultural subgroups.



Appiah, A. (2008).   Education for Global Citizenship. In D. L. Coulter, Why do we educate?   Renewing the conversation (pp. 83-99). Danver: Clearance Centre.

Nussbaum. (1994).   Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism. Boston Review. Retrieved from   http://bostonreview.net/BR19.5/nussbaum.php

Opp, K.-D.   (2012). Collective identity, rationality and collective policitcal action. Rationality   and Society, 24(73), 72-106. Retrieved May 27, 2013


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s