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United Through Sport!

Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play. It has the power to cross boundaries like no other form of entertainment. It speaks no language, has no race and no creed or culture. Sport brings people together from different backgrounds, classes, sexual orientation, ages and countries in a world that is heavily divided.

Kevin Anderson had the world to their feet, as he became the first South African in the past 97 years to qualify for the 2018 Wimbledon final in London.

The hope for a definite finale became a reality when Anderson (32), after a long, physical match beat the famous Roger Federer of Switzerland in the quarterfinals. Kevin Anderson has probably never felt entirely adored by South African tennis fans until this recent victory. Anderson claimed in an interview that he received immense amount support from his home country and its people, and he hopes to be an inspiration to the younger generations, to work hard and never give up on their dreams. Beginning with the Rugby World Cup in 1995, trailed by the 1996 African Nations Cup, and continuing with the 2010 Fifa World Cup – all played and continues to play a major unifying role as seen in South Africa. During the daunting ages in South Africa pre1994, the racial division was seen in all spheres of society, even sport. However, reflecting on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, much progress has been made as it was observed how people of different cultures and race, supported the national soccer team in Bafana Bafana clothing.

This same unification was witnessed during the Fifa World Cup in Russia. The Soccer World Cup is a world festivity with only 32 soccer teams called to fight over the honour to lift the winning trophy. This victory is much more than a cup that will crown the champion with glory. This is rather an experience that captivates many countries throughout the world.

The 2018 Soccer World Cup has in fact brought surprising results never seen before as we watched the 2014 champions, Germany, defeated in a historic 1-0 win for Mexico. Many people claimed this year was the year of the underdogs, with particular reference to Belgium- or universally termed the “red devils”. If you watched one game or all of them, one can agree that this is an event of worldwide magnitude, that unite nations to watch
their team fight for the highest glory a soccer game can provide. The year 2018, was certainly an exciting year for sport, with many unmissable events such as, the Tour De France, Women’s hockey World Cup, Gymnastics World Championships and Formula 1 all taking place. Yet, the ‘beautiful game’ of sport is one with a deeply-rooted paradox.

Sport may in many ways loosely bear a resemblance to war, where opponents encounter another team in a struggle to win over the other side, with the loud and vigorous support of the audiences. An ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mindset is a crucial part of trying to help a team reach their objective, which is to win the game. This situation naturally yields a desire by team supporters to intimidate their opponents by encouraging their team
and expressing both confidence and superiority through their words and actions.

Major sporting events such as the Olympics, and the World Cup, have the power to inspire and build bridges. These global events should be used as a golden opportunity to raise awareness of any sort, to encourage tolerance and respect, and advance efforts towards global peace and nation building.

BY: Bernalee Anthony

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