The difference between We & Us! (Sports analogy).

This Summer is littered with top class sports events. Euro 2016, Tour de France, Rio 2016, the All-Ireland series etc…

And yet is is exactly now that I have chosen to dump Sky Sports, BT Sports and Eir Sports. And I’m big into sports. I was born surrounded by sports. I have always played or taken part in sports.

And yet I’m reprogramming my internal wiring to remove emotional attachment to competitive sports.

Please note this is merely a personal point of view intended only to make you think. No need to agree or disagree 🙂 And yes I’m continuing to take part in sports. For different reasons than I used to though! Let me explain.

Why have I become disaffected with competitive sport? There are several reasons. For the purpose of today’s post I’ll stick to one in particular. The Us v Them mentality that comes with the territory. ‘We’ need to beat, defeat, annihilate, destroy, humiliate ‘Them’.

I hear it everywhere. On TV, in the papers, from the players, the coaches. And then the supporters. Those that don’t even take part. For them the ‘We’ versus ‘Them’ is even stronger.

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‘We’ can be anything. An Irish athlete in the Olympics, Kilkenny hurling, Liverpool FC, Conor McGregor. You name it. It’s all ‘We’ against ‘Them’.

For ‘We’ to be happy ‘Them’ need to be defeated and with a good margin preferably. So ‘We’ can boast ‘We’ stuffed ‘Them’. ‘Them’ will be shedding tears in France, Waterford, Manchester.

For ‘We’ to be happy, ‘Them’ need to feel down , defeated and miserable. Not everyone might feel like this but the vast majority of people I meet and talk to do. And if you happen to live in ‘We’ land you HAVE to support ‘We’ or you will be seen as part of ‘Them’ and ridiculed. Try saying in Limerick that you are not a Munster Rugby supporter. Or in Kilkenny that you don’t follow Hurling.

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“We were really up for this fight. We weren’t coming down here to fulfil a fixture.” Brian Cody, Kilkenny Hurling Manager.

What if instead we promoted sport as a way to get fit, connect with like minded people and share the love for sport with each other. The notion came to me when I started running Ultra-marathons this year. I have taken part in 3 of them. And at each of these ‘races’ people have gone out of their way to chat with me, encourage me, offer me food and drinks, walk with me and so on. Every single time slowing themselves down to do so. Sometimes even when they were in medal positions.

The difference is enormous. Everyone who completes wins. Everyone does whatever they can to ensure as many as possible complete the event. These events become spiritual. Filled with love, passion, empathy, compassion and friendship. Now ‘We’ or ‘Them’. Just ‘Us’.

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Some of ‘Us’ at an Ultra – Marathon in Portumna.

‘Us’ getting there together. ‘Us’ doing things we used to only dream of doing. ‘Us’ making lasting connections. ‘Us’ resolving to meet again at future events. ‘Us’ sharing stories, cups of tea, cake and hot soup. ‘Us’ becoming friends. All based on the same love for the same sport.

When we organise our own Marathons with Marathon Club Ireland there is no first, second or third places or awards. We all run 26.2 miles or more and share our journeys before, during and after. Just being the best ‘Us’ we can be. There is so many friendships that have come from that in the last few years that the ‘Us’ is getting stronger every time we ‘compete’.

I had the choice. ‘We’ versus ‘Them’ OR just ‘Us’. I’ve chosen. You don’t have to. Yet I encourage you to just consider the choice. And the beauty is you can do this in most aspects of life.

Here’s to intentional living.

Have a wonderful day,

Patrick xxxxx