Sport for Peace and Development
Support sport for peace and development, says guest blogger Micheal Byaruhanga, because it is blind to differences and dependant upon, naturally, sportsmanship.
Sport, like a smile, is a language spoken and understood by all nations. A behavioral dialect understood by all generations. As a young man interested in sport, I saw that self-discipline among youthful teammates was missing, as most of them lacked parental guidance in their early life because of the war that separated them.
When we first formed our football team, most of these players were arrogant and violent. At first, without the team coach and the team captain, organisation and respect among us was nonexistent. Our players would frequently be sent off pitch by the referee due to misbehaving.
The situation changed when we got a coach. Self-discipline was his first priority. Our coach would not consider any player who missed trainings or used abusive language for any competitive game and boldly discouraged such emotions on the pitch as well.
This instilled obedience and good sportsmanship among players. Everyone realised that good football is an effect of commitment, sacrifice, respect and obedience. With this life experience, I firmly assert that we can use sport to create law-abiding citizens everywhere.
Besides physical health, the merits of sport make up a lion’s share of who I am today. Before I became active in sport, I was a little bit nervous and shy in groups and with strangers, but working with fellow teammates built up my confidence and self-esteem to work well with others. The fact that I had become a public figure made me to accept and learn tolerance. I started attending to people the way they were.
Had I not been shaped by sport, I would have missed the competence, confidence, character and care upon which I pride myself. It is unquestionably true that sport can make young people realise their potential. It is a path that, if considered seriously, advances our personalities into people of great confident.
In a world where unemployment is rampant, we should work to boost, promote and expose the talents and skills of young people. It is through these talents that young people will step away from the shadows and become a collective voice that can provide the impetus for global action.
We can use sport to mobilise people for a cause. We can use sport to create awareness about the enormity of a problem. We can use sport as a platform to fundraise to save lives. This is what humanity is all about – it is about using what is at your disposal to make people attain what they had only previously dreamed of.
When we became human beings, the only investment given to us was our talents. Our purpose is to realise these talents and our reason for living is to share these talents, help others and make the world a better place.
I urge the world to embrace sport as a peaceful solution to problems. Because sport sees no race, no tribe, no religion, no sexuality and no age, it is a global unifying factor.
In essence, sport invites harmonious living while being content with ignorance about other people’s cultures, values and religions. This is to achieve a common goal – winning – because wins are the effects of teamwork. In sport, everyone is equal.
Article and photos submitted by Micheal Nelson Byaruhanga, 22, a Ugandan human rights activist, freelance journalist and a founder of Child Soldiers Foundation of Africa. Follow him on Twitter @nlsnmicheal90 and check out his other PCI guest blog, Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
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