The Power of Sport

I watched the bio-pic “Invictus” with my wife two weeks ago and was struck by something: the power of sport is an incredible tool for good or evil.  It can be a bridge builder or a divider.  I don’t want to give the movie away, except to say, while I am not a rugby fan, seeing a world figure (Nelson Mandela) recognize the power of sport to destroy stereotypes, change power structures, & be a linchpin to rebuilding a nation was…I just don’t have words for it.  With EVERYTHING at stake, Mandela puts the small, fragile seeds of hope and healing for a nation rife with pain, change, and uncertainty into the hands (literally) of a globally underdog rugby national team (South Africa)!

From the 1936 Berlin Olympics where we saw the fallacy of racial superiority crushed (thanks Jesse Owens for saving American “fat” for outperforming Nazi athletes & providing some justification for the U.S. NOT boycotting those Games), seeing George Weah, the lion of Liberian soccer and former UEFA Champions League star, use his celebrity and influence to fight corruption in that struggling country, observing Dikembe Mutombo leverage his personal finances and connections to build a hospital (and more) for the recovering Congo…or we could speak of Kevin Johnson’s St. Hope Academy in Inner City Sacramento or Andre Agassi’s College Preparatory Academy serving the at-risk Las Vegas community…We see the incredible power of sport change things for the better! And it all started with a dream…

What about you?  The UP-LA has been training and developing tomorrow’s leaders for more than 10 years and charging them to use the platform of sport and any and all other means to address the needs of the “…least of these…”  (Matt. 25:40); to lead TODAY and not to wait! Paul the Apostle said it best when he challenged a young leader (Timothy) to not allow others to look down on his youth, but to lead (1 Timothy 4:12)…What charge is God burning into your brain and heart, “…like a splinter in your mind…” (thx, Morpheus)?  When it comes from Him don’t hesitate…the charge is usually God-sized and beyond what you can accomplish on your own.  Dare you try it?  Dare you risk it?  The world of need is waiting for you…?

Peace in the Struggle,

Michael