Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lesson from Sports

For quite some times I have believed that the social impact from sports are underestimated. Often, sport results are merely reviewed as efforts from athletes to the amusement of the people. Unarguably, it is much more than that.

Recent unexpected performances of the Ghana National football team have created a unifying atmosphere in the country. Especially African countries such as Ghana are in need of unifying elements since most of them are a more or less random collection of tribes, forced in one political, economical and legal state. Reports that I got from Ghana indicate that the qualification for the World Cup is welcomed by everyone from North to South. This cannot be said for most other national occasions.

But there is more to it. The attention that media have for sports can put developments into perspective and create an understanding of our society.

Yesterday, Dutch public TV broadcaster NPS presented a documentary about football-players with double nationalities. This TV program gave a good insight on the extend to which the Moroccans have intergrated in the Dutch society. Two Moroccans (born in Holland) have chosen to play for the National Team of Morocco while other players with similar backgrounds have chosen differently. For example the players showed very little understanding for efforts by Ayaan Hirsi Ali to start a debate about the position of the Islam. Instead of taking up the invitation and give their opionion they only distanced themselves from the Dutch society, as a whole. A funny moment occured when one of them complained about the tax-levels in Holland, whilst the other explained it was needed for the unemployment benefits of fellow Moroccans. The first reacted infuriated, saying that also Dutch people take these benefits, completely missing the sarcasm of the second.

Somebody who has brought the subject of this posting to live is George Oppong Weah. The former football player of the year is now running for president in his native country Liberia. His suporters argue
that, He played professional soccer and received millions in pay. Therefore, he will not personally be corrupt like many past presidents.

Allthough I am not quite sure whether the popularity gained in a field of sports should be carried over to the field of politics, I do believe that the platform that sports provide could be given a closer look.