Sports has truly been a wonderful past-time in the world for as long as I can remember, and it has been an exhibition of a country’s values and expectations of which people should follow. However, values and expectations have failed to take into account one key ingredient that is necessary for the short and long-term success of any nation in the modern world today, and that is multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism refers to an approach that integrates these varied perspectives into society and an awareness of how an individual’s cultural background may impact personal and professional interactions with others.My own life, like those of many people, would be very different without sporting experiences and relationships. Sport is not unique but, like music, theatre and books, it is one of those aspects of social capital which binds us together as human beings. This failure to include people of all different races and genders, and give them an equal opportunity to perform their talents, be it on the sporting field, or in any other domain is a huge mistake.
Different sports are popular in different parts of the world. Soccer is a fairly universal sport – the most popular in almost all countries outside the U.S.A. Some cultures value blood sports such as boxing or bullfighting. Others, such as the U.S., have their own sports like American Football or baseball. Each sport has a different meaning for each culture and even each player. For some, it is an escape from the trials of the “real world.” For others, it is almost a religion. For all, it enables connection with others with the same passions even if there is nothing else apparently similar between two people.
Multicultural competencies are becoming more important every passing day, information and perspectives can be shared through various technologies with relative ease. The Internet age has dramatically increased our exposure to multiple cultures through access to images and videos, language translation, and news reports from around the world. The problem is that multiculturalism is still a hugely contested term and one that has never truly broken free from its assimilationist past. Perhaps it never will. Though we may be wiser to simply allow diversity in sport, as in society, to occur naturally and become self-evident, rather than forcing it into the national consciousness. Sports has truly been a wonderful past-time in the world for as long as I can remember, and it has been an exhibition of a country’s values and expectations of which people should follow, But I know multiculturalism isn’t one of them.