Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let Kaka be.....long.

Kaka, one of the world's richest and best soccerplayers, from Brazil, often brandish a t-shirt stating that, actually, he belongs to Jesus. I suppose all his soccerwealth, as well. I recently twumbled across an article, retweeted by Dollabrand, in a Danish newspaper, where apparently pressure is put on him and the rest of his Brazilian team, by the Danish Football federation, to stop it. They should stop telling the world who they belong to.

Danish, according to my scant knowledge of the ways of the world, are famous for a kind of a sweetened pastry called a 'Danish', but also for publishing some offensive, cartoons mocking Islam. Their soccer-team, however remain nowhere close to the Brazilians at all. I suppose focusing on the religious affiliations and t-shirts that some team members wear after the game, would be their best chance at scoring any goal against the Brazilians. Perhaps, the Danish Secretary-General Jim Stjerne Hansen should try to focus on soccer and, of course, baking and exporting those sweet pastries.

The issue is however deeper. Its well-known that the Bokteam, bended their knees on the field, on two occasions after winning the William-Webb Ellis trophy. No-one said a word. Yet, recently, our very own successful rugby-coach, in the aftermath of scoring an historic series win over the British and Irish Lions, seemingly, were also 'asked' amongst other things, to refrain from speaking religion. His words, many times littered with biblical quotes and his own pop theology, seemingly affects the game. It's seems as if Hansen's statement summaries this trend of attacking the faith of sports people. Hansen (the Dane) explains: "Personally I do not think that sport and religion should be mixed to such a degree that we more or less see a manifestation of a religious stance..."

Many successful sportspeople, however, drive themselves in many different ways to their ultimate performance or to a life of discipline, which gives them the edge over competition. Some of the world's foremost super athletes, in this quest, nurture a deep religious commitment and seemingly 'it works for them' or it sustains them through the 'lows'. That is hopefully not in dispute.

What some find objectionable is the where they make these deepest commitments and most probably (for them!) their secrets to success, known to the world. It is at this point where they should remain, in the closet, where they should simply shut up and play, not pray (!).

Whilst some of these advocates, still builds their argument on a modernist ideological view which separates personal faith from public commitments, most people, these days, would subscribe to a position of tolerance and plurality. Whether a person adheres to no specific faith or religious system or whether they are devout believers, what matters most is how they live their lives, amongst a diversity of people, but more so, how they perform to the best of their abilities. If on any of these two levels, sports people are failing and becomes offensive, because of their faith, I would be the first to call for their silencing. As far, as Kaka and co, Peter de Villiers and his 'Mighty Men', Victor, Luke, Brian H, Bakkies, etc are concerned, my observation is that they remain heroes and welcoming to all, irrespective of still being overtly religious.

So, my suggestion to the Danish would be to just let them be...long, whilst, doing themselves and the world a favour by focusing on their game (and, of course, those sweet delicacies!)
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