In what ways do sports help build community? Steve Boscacci looks at some examples from his favourite sports.
There is no ‘I’ in team: What affects one player affects the team, and what affects the team affects each and every player.
Professional athletes can sometimes feel as though they are just a commodity. When they perform well, the fans support them and the player feels loved and appreciated, but when their performance is not up to scratch they become a targeted villain.
The community is affected by professional athletes and they, in turn, are impacted by the community. But athletes are also provided with a platform which they can use to make a difference within a community or a wider society.
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick used the platform of sporting fame to make a statement. Angered by the killings of African-American citizens by police, Kaepernick decided that he could no longer honour what the national anthem stood for, protesting the song by kneeling rather than standing while it was played.
Kaepernick’s actions sparked emotional debate in the country. A lot of animosity was directed towards him, and it continues to impact his playing career – with him remaining unsigned going into the current season despite his talents. But Colin Kaepernick continues to defend his actions. ‘I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away from me, I know that I stood up for what is right’, he said.
Players and the populace, in general, must follow their hearts and their heads and speak up about issues of concern: especially issues which have traditionally been ‘swept under the carpet.’
Another example came after the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl this year. A significant number of the players and team staff skipped the annual visit to the White House to meet the president. These players were making a statement regarding their viewpoint on Donald Trump.
The actions of a person can and do affect those around them.
Steven Boscacci is a student at Whitefriars College, Donvale, Vic.