Another Ryder Cup came and went in the blink of an eye at the start of October and, as it seems to do so unfailingly these days, it provided some of the most incredible and implausible sporting drama you could wish to see. It gave us yet another reminder – as if it were needed – of the raw and pure power of sport.
Playing sport just matters
The 24 guys taking part in the Ryder Cup play on the PGA and European Tours week in, week out for extraordinary sums of money. And yet, in the Ryder Cup, where they are competing for nothing more than national pride, the standard of golf soars to even greater heights than usual, and the players display a visceral passion that you simply never otherwise see. In the obscenely monied world of top level sport, it is a thrilling, satisfying and humbling reminder that simply playing sport – and playing to win – matters more than any multi-million dollar pay cheque.
The Ryder Cup in 2014 prepared me for what happened in 2016. I felt like each hole I played there was the back nine of a major championship. It’s played with that much passion, that much intensity. There’s nothing like the Ryder Cup.Jordan Spieth – USA
You’re influenced so much by the energy of the crowd. It’s so pressure-packed, it forces you to go inward and find all your skills, every ounce of ability you have, just to survive the week. It makes you bring out your best stuff.Justin Rose – Europe
Sport is a universal language, and in every society across the globe sport is a field of dreams and a powerful force for good. In countries devastated by decades of conflict, sport retains the power to transcend all before it and unite people in ways that cannot otherwise be achieved.
Giving kids from all corners of the globe a dream to chase
With just one football, for example, a group of young lads in Syria can channel their imagination and their dreams with that one common goal – to play at the highest level, just like rising star Mahmoud Dahoud. Dahoud is a Kurd born in Syria who, with his parents, fled the Assad regime to Germany. Dahoud now turns out for Borussia Moenchengladbach and Germany U21s. At some point in 2017 he will almost certainly be plying his trade for top European team and will have broken through into the Germany squad. Dahoud is a nailed-on future star, and his story will be an inspiration for millions of Syrian kids for years to come.
Or how about the young Afghan cricketers, playing on rubble pitches against a desolate backdrop of eternal war and poverty. Check out the beautiful and powerful documentary Out of the Ashes, which follows the story of the Afghanistan national cricket team’s qualification for the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 tournament – a truly remarkable journey from those rubble pitches to the very highest level.
Sport has the power to change the world
In 1995, South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup. Its national team, the Springboks, was seen by many as a symbol of apartheid division and repression. The team featured only one non-white player and was reviled by black South Africans. Step forward Nelson Mandela.
Mandela had played a vital role in convincing the nation back in 1992 simply to go ahead with hosting the event, in what was very much a white-leaning sport. Come the tournament in 1995, South Africa had reached the final. Before kick off, and in front of a passionate and almost entirely white crowd of 65,000, Mandela strode onto the pitch wearing a Springboks jersey – that very symbol of apartheid division. The crowd, initially almost silent in bemusement, began to roar “Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!” and South Africa went on to win the game and the cup. It was a truly transcendent moment in the nation’s struggle and transformation from apartheid to a multi-racial democracy.
The great man said:
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.
KUDOS believes the power of sport is the most effective tool for inspiring positive change and bringing people and communities together. Let’s celebrate it, let’s get involved and let’s play sport. If we all did, we believe the world would be a better place.
KUDOS SPORTS – A LEADING SUPPLIER OF CUSTOM TEAMWEAR
KUDOS supplies made-to-order teamwear to a range of sports clubs across the globe. We supply bespoke custom kit that is built for performance and worn with pride. Use our one minute kit designer to design your kit today.