The proper attitude
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
September 9, 2015
Boys will always be boys.
Given any chance to play sports, their reaction is always lightning
quick and wholehearted. In fact, I sometimes get the impression thatís
where their heart really is. Classes are a poor second, or a third or
I just remembered the
opening of an annual intramural Olympiad in a boysí school, and the
environment suddenly changed mood. More movement, more laughter, more
color. The boys seem to be on auto-pilot, guided by instincts
otherwise hidden during normal schooldays.
Through it all, I somehow
detected unmistakable traces and signs of growth and development.
There was more self-confidence, better teamwork, an increased daring
to show their talents and gifts, or as they say, to strut their stuff.
Itís true that while their
education requires some controlled environment, they need to be
unleashed from time to time, asking them to do things on their own.
Thatís where we can see
whether degrees of maturity and sense of responsibility have been
gained or not. Thatís where we can see who are the leaders and who the
followers. Thatís where we can see their strengths and weaknesses.
I saw their cheer dance
competition and their artwork exhibit Ė I could not be in all events Ė
but I was already floored to see their creativity and artistry that
truly widened my perspectives. Itís indeed a blessing that can come
only from God.
Itís always moving to see
them try their best to be more human and Christian, to become more
mature and responsible in spite of the many demons they have to face.
Human weakness and miseries, temptations from within and without hound
them as they do everybody else. But their struggles have a peculiar
Theyíre still awkward and
prone to try flying without knowing exactly where they would land.
Theyíre still into a grueling process of self-discovery, a very
crucial stage where they need the most help that should not be too
intrusive, which they resent.
Itís in sports where a
common language is instantly spoken and understood even between staff
and students, and practically by all. Barriers seen in classrooms and
workshops seem to get dismantled in the gym. And everyone enjoys and
looks forward to it.
Thatís why sports has to be
given its proper place in school life. It may not be the most
important element, but I would say itís an indispensable auxiliary
component. For it can also be a terrific school of many virtues.
But it has to be infused
also with the proper spirit. Otherwise, it can degenerate into a
network of vices and inhuman attitudes Ė greed, lust, vanity,
frivolity, etc.Ė that can become formidable since with sports this
network gets extremely enjoyable and addictive.
Everyone needs to be
reminded that sports has to serve our true dignity as persons and
children of God. It cannot be an excuse for us to indulge in animality
and savagery. Competition need not be an exercise of pride, envy and
It can be a healthy occasion
to build a realistic attitude to life, for which one realizes the need
for discipline and preparation, hardwork and focus. It can be a good
learning moment for the interplay of the basic social principles of
the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity.
Competition tells us we are
not alone. We need to be with others. It tells us we have to work for
a goal, each one contributing whatever he can and always doing it in
an effective tandem with others.
Competition is a driver of
development at least in the personal and social aspects of oneís life.
It pushes one to go to the limits of his capabilities not only in the
technical aspects but especially in the more human ones Ė magnanimity,
gracefulness, patience, optimism, etc.
Thatís why it is important
to make everyone understand the true nature and purpose of
competition. If one knows what competition really is and is for, he
will always come out a victor whether he wins or loses in a game or
Defeat, according to General
George Patton, is not due to losses but to the destruction of the
soul. Itís when one surrenders to discouragement, pessimism, despair.
Thatís why it is important
that everyone learns to compete properly, correcting him whenever the
spoilers of the true status of competition come. How essential is it,
therefore, that the young ones be immediately reminded and encouraged
whenever they show signs of misunderstanding it!
Of course, the very
fundamental principle of sports and competition is oneís love for God.
Outside of that, forget it.