Sport at the Service of Humanity: A Call to Action
We have entered this new decade in a time of crisis for many regions around the globe. From the Australian bushfires to the plane crash in Iran, together we mourn the losses that have affected so many.
While these tragedies conjure feelings of grief and outrage, they also remind us of the importance of creating a world built upon the six Sport at the Service of Humanity principles: Compassion. Respect. Love. Enlightenment. Balance. Joy. Now, more than ever, it is of the utmost importance that we connect with each other through these values. In doing so, we can help to unite the world in faith and in sport.
At a time when we are grieving the losses faced by so many, we also celebrate the individuals who are creating positive change in the face of adversity, especially those athletes who are choosing to Live Like They Play.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – MAHATMA GANDHI
Athletes Lead by Example
The devastation wrought by the Australian bushfires has brought out the best in many of the world’s top athletes. As a community, they have come together to help a nation in crisis, using their influence to reach beyond sport and make a real difference in the world. Their displays of kindness and generosity are a testament to the will of the human spirit.
Australian golfer Cameron Smith, who won the PGA Tour’s Sony Open on January 13th, joined with a number of other golfers at the event in donating a portion of his prize money to the relief effort for the Australian bushfires.
“Australia is doing it tough right now and the focus is probably not on my golf, for good reason. Hopefully [my win] gave a few people reason to smile for a moment or two.”
— CAMERON SMITH (SOURCE: BBC.COM)
British Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton, pledged $500,000 to support the Australian bushfire relief efforts.
“It breaks my heart to see the devastation the Australian bushfires are causing to people and animals across the country. I’m pledging $500k to support the animals, wildlife volunteers and rural fire services. If you are able to, and you haven’t already then you can donate too.”
—LEWIS HAMILTON (SOURCE: TWITTER)
Tennis stars Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, along with other topranked tennis players, joined together to play in the Australian Open 2020 Rally for Relief, an exhibition match designed to raise money for Australia’s bushfire relief efforts.
“It’s a good feeling to get together as a tennis family. I think we can do always more. I’m happy to do this here; I’m not happy that we have to do it because we don’t want any problems in the world but it’s naïve to think like that. So it’s exciting to be able to help tonight.”
—ROGER FEDERER (SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN OPEN TV CHANNEL, YOUTUBE)
“It’s very special. We have this platform to be able to help people who need it right now. I love that the whole country and the whole city have gotten together to raise money for the bushfires. It’s not a good situation but hopefully we can help by doing this.”
—CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN OPEN TV CHANNEL, YOUTUBE)
Tennis star Maria Sharapova took action of her own, donating 10 pairs of handsigned shoes to anyone who donated $300. A number of the shoes also included personal messages such as “Australia, you’re special.”
“Hi Brisbane, I’ve signed ten pairs of my tennis shoes, left them at the @BrisbaneTennis desk at the Westin Hotel, alongside a donation envelope for fire rescue efforts. They’re yours to keep, we just ask you to donate $300 a pair. All money going directly to Red Cross.”
—MARIA SHARAPOVA (SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN OPEN TV CHANNEL, YOUTUBE)
Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne auctioned off his famous baggy green cap. The anonymous buyer paid $685,000 for the honour of having the iconic item. All proceeds from the sale of the cap will go to the Australian Red Cross bushfire appeal
“Thank you so much to everyone that placed a bid and a huge thank you/congrats to the successful bidder — you have blown me away with your generosity and this was way beyond my expectations!”
—SHANE WARNE (SOURCE: TWITTER)
These stories are just a few examples of the outpouring of love, compassion and generosity displayed by the world’s top athletes, as well as, the generosity of those who supported these athletes’ initiatives by purchasing tickets, bidding on auction items and purchasing paraphernalia.
Uniting Through Sport
The selfless actions of these athletes are a reminder of the importance of uniting through the Sport at the Service of Humanity principles, both in times of crisis, as well as, in our daily lives.
As we move into this new decade, we reflect on what it means to Live Like You Play. We challenge all of you to embody the Live Like You Play mantra into your daily lives and become agents for change that our world needs right now.
We thank you for believing in Sport at the Service of Humanity and ask you all to continue to bring our message to your communities. It is only through continued growth of this Movement that we can make a real difference.
Sending Love and Prayers
We also ask you all to join with us in sending love and prayers to the families who lost loved ones in the tragic helicopter crash that devastated our global sport community: NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna, Basketball Coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, Sarah Chester and daughter Payton, and Basketball Coach Christina Mauser, along with the pilot Ara Zobayan.
Our Sport at the Service of Humanity family mourns with all of these families. We pray for comfort and strength in spirit to help them in this time of grief. May the souls of their dearly departed loved ones rest in peace.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” –MATTHEW 5 :4