Over the past week, Australians and cricketing countries around the world have paused to remember a much loved and prominent sportsman. Rightly so, are the notions that we ‘hold off’ conducting scheduled matches at the highest levels of the game, to reflect and feel in this moment of rawness, what could possibly be on offer for us all to ponder more deeply.
For most of my life I was an avid sports fan but in recent years have come to feel and recognise for myself much of the ‘ugliness’ that lurks beneath the covers and no longer choose to actively ‘play these games’. So I do not claim to know much about the current players of top level sport, nor the events that took place recently, but I am able to reflect on the deep sadness felt by so many in our society and ponder the possibility that many are grieving more than simply the loss of a member of humanity.
I remember clearly at age 6 or 7 waking up early one morning to sit with my Dad and watch the spectacle of a ‘World Wrestling Title fight’ on TV (which was a pretty new novelty in our lives at that time).
A few minutes into the bout one contestant attempted to strangle the other with a shoe lace he’d been underhandedly given by his coach – all I remember was the absolute shock and dismay at the possibility that this heinous, barbaric act could be inflicted by one person on another and ran back to my bedroom crying inconsolably and refusing to accept the explanation from my Dad that wrestling is just an ‘act’ and it was not real and merely an entertainment ‘wow factor’.
It was only in my later teen years that I began to see the ‘mirrors behind the smoke’ in the sporting arenas and only more recently that I could fully understand all of that which plays out behind the scenes.
When struck by a ‘bouncer’ (fast action ball delivery intended to bounce up to the batman's head height) during a cricket match that ultimately led to a fatal injury, no-one for a minute considered the notion that this was an intentional act to harm.
When I delve a little deeper into my own, very much amateur and social, sporting prowess of school yard rugby, water polo or later on in life on the squash court or paddling down a raging river in a canoeing race – and I distinctly recall moments of intent to act in a selfish, unloving manner towards a fellow competitor; be it a kick in the scrum, eye gouge in the pool or forcing another canoeist into a line of rocks. These always felt like a momentary rush of energy through my body, an excitement or ‘high’ elevating me above equality with another in order to give me an edge. And I often wondered about some of these acts afterwards, questioning why on earth I’d will-fully choose to act out that intent on a friend, work colleague or total stranger - it never felt natural or in keeping with my usual gentle nature.
This ‘intent’ has always been justified as being ‘our competitive nature’ and perfectly acceptable to society.
As I mentioned, it is only more recently in my life that I was introduced (through Universal Medicine presentations) to the possibility that I have a choice over the type and quality of energy that I may live each moment in – and this offered me the clarity to understand that those moments of ‘intent’ on the sporting field were, in fact, moments of calling in a force that acted through me (and not the real me at all) in a totally unloving way towards another fellow human being. (And that this plays out in many other aspects in my life, is an ongoing process of recognising and calling out what does not feel True to the Love that I know that I have for myself and all of humanity, equally so).
There is nothing Divinely constellated in the universe that otherwise justifies the ‘competitive nature’ found in our sporting arenas (and life in general) and perhaps this is felt at some level deep within by all those that question and mourn the passing of a young and prominent sportsman.