Mary Ellen Kelly reports on some remarks of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nee Pope Benedict XVI, on the 1985 World Cup:
“The fascination with soccer,” he wrote, “lies essentially in that it forces man to discipline himself, such that, through training, he acquires dominion over himself. Through dominion, he achieves superiority. And through superiority, freedom.”
Soccer, he continued, teaches the person the value of “disciplined cooperation” and demands an ordering of the individual within the group. “It unites through a common objective; the success or failure of each one is tied to the success or failure of the group.”
Nice analysis, applying really to sports in general.