Sports bring competition; teaches morality, integrity and ambition. It is exciting, amusing and challenging. But most of all, sport brings us hope. Sports give us faith to live another day. We see our favourite athletes and teams, and we are amazed by them, and it gives us a sense of hope that no matter what challenges or hurdles we have in our daily lives, we can conquer them all.
Heard or read that before? I read these lines back in 2011 and I often go back to it when I need to. I am fortunate to experience instances that constantly prove to me that those words are indeed true. I may be more fortunate than others to experience sport and more so, football at an elite level, at least more than the average person or fan. There are a lot of times I wish many more could encounter the experiences that I do. And why? Because I think those aren’t, are indeed missing out.
With its impact and influence, sports have always had a place in society. This weekend I saw a video feature on West Indies bowling legends Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh which highlighted their great partnership and performances. Their influence was massive on our entire region, from those in the cities to the small villages. This demonstrated that there can be many instrumental development objectives and lessons realized through sports. Their value is sometimes underestimated, but as anyone knows who has ever been to any sporting event, it can literally reshape the foundation of a community.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates physical inactivity is responsible for close to 2 million deaths each year globally. It further estimates that fewer than one-third of young people in countries around the world are adequately active to benefit their present and future health and well-being. Those stats were released before the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. One wonders what impact the lack of sufficient sport could possibly be doing the human race at this time.
I just get the feeling that sport is not as high up in our society that it ought to be despite our rich history, in cricket on a regional level for instance, where it is regarded more highly by those that are outside of our region.
Sports are an essential and important aspect of American society; they are indispensable when it comes to their impact on a plethora of public arenas, including economics and the mass media. Sport coincides with community values and political agencies, as it attempts to define the morals and ethics attributed not only to athletes but the totality of society as a whole,” wrote Brumett (21) Fans of spectator sports find a reaffirmation of key societal values through sports, as they give meaning to their own lives. “By becoming fans, spectators engage in certain kinds of pleasures, fulfilling their desires through fetishism, voyeurism, and narcissism,"
Similarly, we must see Sport being such an important aspect of our Caribbean society.
Delaney wrote, “to ignore sport is to ignore a significant aspect of any society and its culture" (7), continuing to note, “sport is the opiate of the masses, because we are in the age of the sport consumer, which is dissimilar to the age of the sport spectator" (Delaney, 14). By placing a “value” on a specific athlete, you are not only defining that athlete based on his or her attributes, you are bestowing upon them a specific worth which ultimately translates into the worth of that specific sport en masse,"
Ask yourself why does sport provide such good content and in such quantities for every type of media. What is the public getting and what is it that the public likes? Sport provides many pleasures and may fulfil many needs, but perhaps the two most important are its capacity to create a diverse array of meaningful stories and a range of sporting characters, heroes, villains, celebrities and fools. These in turn provide compelling content for the stories, headlines, social media posts, websites, television news and programmes that make up the media of contemporary popular culture. Which stories we pick up, which heroes we value and why will vary across and within societies. All in all, sport deserves to have a high status in our society too.
Shaun Fuentes is the head of TTFA Media. He is a former FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey The views expressed are solely his and not a representation of any organisation. firstname.lastname@example.org