Sportuality: a perspective on sport & competition

This blog post is authored by guest writer Jeanne Hess, a member of the board of Perpetual Motion Fitness Corporation (parent company of inerTRAIN); volleyball coach, professor of physical education, and department chair at Kalamazoo College; and author of newly-published Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games.

In January of 2009, I sat down at my computer and began to type out the skeleton of what was to become Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, which came out last week. I had thoughts about words commonly used in sport, that when reconsidered to their original root became more useful in teaching peace and joy in our culture.

One of the first words I thought about was ‘competition’, with its Latin root as ‘competere’ which means ‘to work with’. Not against. With.

What a paradigm shift to realize that those whom we often call enemy within sport are actually helping us work better, more effectively and to our highest potential. Imagine our culture if all who were involved in sport from the youngest ages of AYSO soccer and little league to the pro ranks understood and practiced working with rather than against.

Sportuality examines other words in the same way: community, communication, enthusiasm, religion, spirit, humor, education, holy, sanctuary, sacrifice and victory. In the end, hopefully the reader can reflect accordingly and adjust his or her thinking to thoughts of love, peace and joy rather than of hate and violence.

In this election year, we will hear several references to sport as we “war” with the other – or those who don’t share our views. For example, Barack Obama is in Sportuality, as being a community organizer who used basketball as a means of connections within his community, then on the campaign trail, and brought it to the White House.

I believe the ideas in this book are boundless; that one can use it as a tool for reflection and personal growth. It can be a workbook for teams or groups as a means to start positive conversation. Whatever it becomes, it is out of my hands and into yours. Use it for peace. Use it for love. Use it for JOY!

For more information on the book, please click here.