May 17, 2009 | Comment

What’s a “Power of Sport Story?!”

It’s a story that transcends the particular game at hand—be it stick & ball, on ice, on grass, turf, or simply played in an alley or on a street corner with a ball & a makeshift goal.  In a power of sport story, “winners” don’t necessarily win the playoff or championship game; sometimes they are on the losing end on the scoreboard.  But their game is an “Inner Game,” a higher game, a spiritual game that claims a universal victory.

The power in these stories of sport is like an alarm clock, noisily waking people from a heavy slumber.  These moments grab your attention in a loud and profound way like the arena horn marking the end of a half, a referee’s whistle halting play, or a raucous crescendo of cheers from fans reveling in an unbelievable moment.

It’s the former pro football player who donates a kidney to his ex-teammate; or the one who is walking across the breadth of the United States today to remind Americans of the hardships confronting rescue personnel who sacrificed their health on September 11th. 

The power of sport is witnessed when a coach chooses—on game day—to go barefoot to draw attention to the plight of those who have no footwear options. 

That power of sport can be profoundly life changing when homeless men and women are invited to compete in the world’s most popular sport and others see how the game inspires the downtrodden and the hopeless! The Homeless World Cup injects hope and possibility into people who are more often than not, global afterthoughts. It’s a worldwide competition, sponsored by Changemakers.net, to find “innovative ways for sports to promote social change.”  Imagine that: promoting global social change with a ball!

Sport and play are the common denominators and planetary equalizers.  No matter where you look in the world regardless of political or religious system—we ALL play.  Therefore, stories of triumph over illness, poverty or handicap through the use of sport or play resonate throughout our world and help inspire change, and inspire action. The Power of Sport Story can change a life.  It changed mine. 

Coach Hurley’s long-time effort to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes at St. Anthony HS in Jersey City, NJ are absolutely worthy of being highlighted as a Power of Sport Story - well done, Coach Hurley!

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