All posts tagged Sport:

August 08, 2008 | Comment

It is truly a big world and the problems in it often require that those with more give to those with not quite as much.  Sport that creates or helps facilitate social change often requires travel - because the children of most struggling nations bear the brunt of poverty, disease and war.  Here is another story of people seeing a need - far away from home - and using the time and talent that they possess to help kids in need…

From Seacoast Online:

Soccer goal: Seacoast United’s goodwill trip to Kenya’s ‘win-win’
A girl’s homemade soccer ball puts life in perspective

By Mike Sullivan
August 03, 2008 6:00 AM

Life is all about perspective. Our perceptions of what is good, bad, beautiful, ugly or anything in between depend on the individual and what his or her collective experiences have been. Paul Willis and Matt Glode, the executive director and director of youth programs for Seacoast United Soccer Club in Hampton, recently got a crash course in perspective.

The pair embarked on a goodwill trip to Kenya, spending three days conducting a workshop for Kenyan leaders of youth sports organizations, and then spent four days assisting with a four-day clinic for as many as 60 girls a day…


Eve, 16, is the mother of a 1-year-old child, which is commonplace in Kenya. Eve loves soccer so much she actually plays it, which isn’t commonplace in Kenya. Girls playing sports is, by and large, frowned upon. And that’s putting it mildly.

Eve would sneak away from her home to locations where her parents couldn’t find her so she could play. If her father found out, he would beat her. The beatings didn’t stop her, though.

One day, her father was walking home from work and he heard a bunch of boys in a field calling Eve’s name. He stopped to find out what was going on and couldn’t believe his eyes. The boys were calling to her because they wanted the ball—she was the best player on the field.

From then on, the beatings stopped. The father understood. He realized this was good for his daughter and that soccer could, just maybe, help her find a better life…

Follow the link below to read the whole story…

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!


July 22, 2008 | 1 comment

All good things begin with a plan.  “Kicking It”, the just released documentary on the 2006 Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa was a part of a plan by AOL executive Ted Leonsis:

How Ted Leonsis’ Snag Films Came To Be:

“I wanted to make films that had a double-bottom line - movies that had a return on their investment, but which also righted a wrong, or spurred viewers to social action. I began to think about the concept of ‘filmanthropy,’ believing that filmmakers could transform the energy created by a film that shined the light on injustice, or which exposed a social need, into greater audience participation…I learned that many great documentaries, released even two or three years ago and having run through their traditional distribution, are now hard to find, and large media companies want an easy way to have these films connect with an audience.”

Go to the Snag Films website and “watch full-length documentary films for free…and put them anywhere on the web. When you embed a widget on your web site, you open a virtual movie theater and become a “Filmanthropist…”  With a library of 225 documentaries, and rapidly growing—browse by topic or go through the alphabet from A-Z—you’re bound to find films that resonate with your interests.

For some, art is excessively highbrow, while sports is looked at as the domain of the uncultured.  What do you get when you combine the power of the artistic & athletic mediums with a powerful socio-political motive?  A third stream, ‘Filmanthropy,’ awareness, social change.  We’ve already seen this hybridization occur and we’re destined to see more in the coming years: seemingly incompatible disciplines cobbled together out of creative necessity and brought to bear on real problems in a rapidly changing world.

Sounds exciting.

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!


July 08, 2008 | 1 comment

From the Sports Academic blog:

Sport as Socializing Agent

I would like to begin a conversation on sports acting as socializing activities. Scott and I have talked around this issue some in other posts and comments. The general theory is that sports serve the interests of society by teaching practitioners and spectators behaviors needed or prized in a given time and place. This means that the same sport may socialize practitioners and spectators differently when the historical and social contexts change.

Speaking generally, Victorian era British sports, for example, emphasize social etiquette and restraint. American sports, on the other hand, tend to blatantly defy British decorum and, in the case of baseball, attempt to erase European genealogy. Instead, craftiness (cheating?) and a dogged determination to win are prized. “Stealing,” is even permissible.

I attended a “Philosophy of Sport” conference in England in 2004. Most of the attendees were European and I surprised some when I mentioned that in America, soccer is largely a sport for the upper middle class, played in wealthy suburbs. In Europe, it is a decidedly working class sport, and the matches often attract many disenfranchised, unemployed young men looking to take their anger out on the opposing team or its fans.

I offer these two general examples merely as primers. Over the next few weeks, I invite you to join me in analyzing the socializing effects of a number of sports and games: golf (yes, there is more to be said), tennis, soccer, baseball, fencing, trictrac, football, basketball, and maybe racquetball, rodeo, hockey, and others you might suggest.

What societal values are transmitted through sport/play?  How does that process vary by class, race or gender?  How do sport and play impact the maintenance of, or evolution of societal values?

Observed superficially, sport and play seem trivial, but as the “Sports Academic” demonstrates, sport is a mirror of who we are and studying sport and play can offer unusual insights into our culture and ourselves.  Those careful observations and insights can help lead - if we are motivated and wise - to change.

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

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