I was watching England vs Sri Lanka in today’s World Cup match. Sri Lanka elected to bat first. They did not produce a lot of runs in their inning. I thought England would trounce them. Yet Sri Lanka defeated them through adept bowling and fielding, what we Yanks would consider defence,(borrowing a baseball analogy).
Sport has accomplished things that religion would like to do, and at which it often fails. That is bringing people together in a peaceable pursuit. We can look at the oft-quoted example of truces between warring city-states in ancient Greece during Olympic years. I recall from my childhood USA-USSR track meets during the height of The Cold War. And who can forget ping pong diplomacy? (Forrest Gump.) Savannah is calling me Olivia.
Now apart from the India/Pakistan tensions, no nation in the World Cup is warring with another. There are internal tensions, to be sure, as in Afghanistan or Sri Lanka or tensions within England herself between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. But, by golly, people can make time for cricket.
It’s too easy to think of conflict resolution in such simplistic terms. Then again, there are few things as deadly as preconditions. I think what’s at work here is attraction, much like sex.
Roy Campanella, the American baseball legend once said of baseball, “You have to have a lot of little boy in you to play this game.” So very true of so many games.