Saturday, June 1, 2013

Now - and Sports

One aspect I life I find missing in Amman is sports. The absence of it must surely shape the people's character. In some countries, cricket or rugby are huge, fascinating attention-getters. In the U.S., baseball, basketball, American football, and hockey capture the minds of many. Throughout the world, the biggest draw is soccer/football.

While national flags of the kingdom wave all over the kingdom of Jordan, the people can't really rally around a sports team. The soccer team made a splash a couple of months ago in their World Cup qualifying matches, but the euphoria fizzled out.

Sports defines local or regional character. I look at the way baseball has been a metaphor for life for many Bostonians, who maintain a Calvinistic demeanor. People are able to relate life's struggles with the ups and downs of their favorite baseball team. Many cities do this.

It also is an outlet for aggression and passion. To some, sports seems trivial, but a good game of sport can brighten up an otherwise dreary day. We can forget about life's disappointments when we marvel at the precision of athletes. We transfer hopes and dreams upon contenders and we forget, for a moment, about life's dreary demands.

The absence of sports is significant in Amman. I'd love to watch a cricket match at Sports City, but they don't have one. I'd love to see rivals from Irbid and Karak play each other in soccer, but I don't ever hear or read about such meets. Local sports team competitions are non-existent. School pride, university-alumni development, and local interest aren't allowed to flourish because there is little to rally around except maybe religion, which many not be so healthy.

I would think that a Jordanian interest in sports would shape the way they deal with time. There is no "Just wait until next year" because everything is "now." Immediacy is the only thing that matters. There is no placing of hope in a local or national team. There is no development of athletes that is visible. I wish a ongoing sports event would be a rallying point for Jordanian pride.

Sure, the Olympics come around but many realize that Jordan is too small to field a competitive edge in any field. Just showing up is the victory. It defines one's character when you think of yourselves as too small or too insignificant to compete regularly. Athletes inspire and they ask people to go beyond what they think are their capabilities. The Middle East could use this mindset. The development of the minds, attitudes, and health of the youth is critically important.

Sports helps pace life and we get to see the cycles and rhythms of life over time. It moves us away from a "now" culture.

Sigh. Maybe next year.


  1. The Toronto Maple Leafs provide such a rallying point in my area. It has been eons since the Leafs won the Stanley Cup; however, it is incredibly difficult to obtain a ticket to a home game and everyone has the mentality that perhaps it will be this year! This year was amazing as the Leafs actually made it to the playoffs and it was such fun to see so many cars with Leafs flags.

    1. That is what I am talking about. Hope comes about year after year and you believe you can win it all. It is good for society to have such entertainment because it speaks of greater events in life.