New out this morning at News.va is an outstanding article on Pope Francis’ meeting this morning with members of the Italian and Argentinian national football squads. Definitely click through and read the full version of the article, which includes the Holy Father’s remarks in their entirety.
Coaches at any level would do well to share this talk with their players, particularly Pope Francis’ remarks to the athletes:
Dear players, you are very popular: the people watch you both on and off the field. This is a social responsibility! Let me explain: In the game, when you are on the field, you find beauty, generosity, camaraderie. If a game is missing this, it loses its force, even if the team wins. There is no place for individualism; everything is directed to the team. Perhaps these three things—beauty, generosity, and camaraderie—ought to be recovered in a sporting term that should never be abandoned: “amateur”. It’s true that the organization of national and international sides professionalised sport — and it has to be that way — but this professional dimension should never lay aside the initial vocation of an athlete or a team: being an amateur. When an athlete, even as a “pro,” cultivates this “amateur” dimension, he is contributing to the good of society, he is building up the common good through the values of generosity, camaraderie, and beauty.
Generosity, camaraderie, and beauty? Possible in football? Yes, and in so many other aspects of life as well. Today, I’m planning to consider how I — in the game of life I play — can build up the common good in my own unique ways through these three values.
A question for you: What is your favorite sport? How do you see the potential of athletes to be a light to the world around them?