And the Answer Is…

Give an athlete some push-pins and a black background and look what happens!

Love.
Love the game.
Love your team.
Love your teammates.
Love the process.
Love the outcome.
Love your enemy.

Yes. Love your enemy. Jesus said it. Buddha said it. Gandhi said it. The Dalai Lama said it. Mother Teresa said it. Martin Luther King Jr. said it. Sportuality says it, and quotes Gandhi:

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”

Shifting one’s idea about competition is the quintessence of true Sportuality. Again, defining competition as “to work with” rather than “to work against” asks us all to consider our thought about why and how we compete, and our thoughts about with whom we compete.
Sportual stories come to me on a daily basis – via friends, television, internet, print material, or personal experience. My life is a reflection of my sportual values, and my call is to draw yours forth. We all have a sportual story, whether it’s a memory or an ongoing way of life. We may associate with sport as a player, a coach, a fan, a parent, or an official of the games. Regardless of how we play, each of us have a story that has influenced, grown, shaped, or changed our attitudes and beliefs. How have you been challenged to love your adversary, to cheer for another, to feel empathic joy for “the other?”

Then on the other hand, how often have you wished for elimination of “the other” as a competitor? It is this thought that evokes our violence, hate, judgment, and ultimately, our warlike nature. And when Jesus said “Love your enemies,” I’m pretty sure he meant don’t kill them. Sport has the ability to address the needs of our planet to bring us together as one. Sport is the perfect vehicle to reach all peoples in all nations. Love your neighbor. Compete, yes, but do so with the best of intentions.

Aaron Hernandez. OJ Simpson. Oscar Pistorius. Jovan Belcher. Baseball’s bench-clearing brawls. Hockey’s fights. Football’s bounty scandal. Children in Rocket Football getting rewards for taking out a competitor. This is murder, violence, and madness, but sport can and should teach the higher lessons. Humanity demands more of us.

Love your enemy….Sportually.

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Easy to Meet, Hard to Forget – A Sportual Day for Max

Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games reexamines words that when used in sport, can help one find greater meaning and purpose in those games. Following are a few words that defined our visit to Detroit with our dear friends the Nartkers:

Max with his broadcasting heroes, Rod Allen (left) and Mario Impemba (right)

ENTHUSIASM: God within
It was the kind of day that will make me smile for the rest of my life: so Sportual and so right. And of course it involved baseball and someone linked to my volleyball team. Max is the brother of a 2012 graduate from my Kalamazoo College Volleyball Team, who in his sister’s four years with us, transformed everyone he ever met, including me. “I’m easy to meet, and hard to forget!” is his mantra. No kidding. Max’s energy reaches out and touches you, over and over. If you need a label, call it ADHD with a form of autism, but I call it Maximum energy! His life goal is to be the next Ernie Harwell, and you know, I believe him! During his sister’s senior year with us, Max announced all our home games, driving with his mom three hours each way, often arriving home well past midnight on a school night. He runs cross country, and manages the basketball team at his school. And he loves baseball. Max is one very Sportual guy – a product of a very Sportual family.
SANCTUARY: Holy place
For Max’s high school graduation, my husband and I gifted him with Detroit Tiger tickets. The stated plan was that we’d meet him and his parents in Detroit for a meal at the famous Slow’s BBQ Restaurant, visit the site of the old Tiger Stadium just down the road, and arrive early to Comerica Park in time for batting practice – two most holy places for Tiger fans around the globe. Dear old Tiger Stadium is but a field: home plate, pitcher’s mound, and base paths, but it still holds all the ghosts of those who passed through her gates from 1912 to 1999, and the feeling connecting past to present is palpable to those who still gather there in the name of community. Meanwhile, across town, Comerica Park is the shining jewel of a park, with all the bells and whistles, in the heart of a downtown working toward its renaissance.
COMMUNICATION: To make common
Unbeknownst to Max, the surprise portion of the evening included a visit to both the television and radio booths to meet his broadcasting heroes. Have you ever seen a 19-year old leap three feet in the air five consecutive times? It happened on June 20 just inside Gate A of Comerica Park, when Mike, a Kalamazoo graduate with ties to the booth, met us and said, “Hi Max, are you ready?” “Ready for what?” looking at each of us as if we should know … ”We’re going to meet Rod (Allen) and Mario (Impemba), and Jim (Price) and Dan (Dickerson) up in the booth.” After the news sunk in two seconds later, Max was transformed into a human jumping bean. As he walked away toward the booth, his mom observed, “He’s excited … his arms were flapping!” True to his faith-filled upbringing, as Max met the broadcasters, he thanked them for doing God’s work. He then told the TV guys, Rod and Mario, that he would take their jobs someday, but only after they died. Needless to say, everyone in those booths had an encounter with true Sportuality that night. Autographs and photos filled most of the time with the guys, but it was clear that they wouldn’t soon forget the next Ernie Harwell.
VICTORY: To persevere
With the broadcasting booth visit in our rear-view mirror, we watched the end of batting practice while leaning on the Red Sox dugout. This was going to be a classic battle of two first-place teams in the American League, and they did not disappoint. Max kept us and everyone in our section—including the usher and the beer vendor—entertained with his enthusiasm, communication, and joy in the game. After all, Boston is Max’s “second favorite team,” so this game was a perfect storm, and an outlet for his energy.

Years ago, Tug McGraw uttered “You gotta believe!” while playing with the 1973 Mets. Well, this was one game where the Tiger faithful had to believe. Down 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th, and yet to have a walk-off this season, several fans had chosen an early exit to beat the traffic and listen to the sordid details of a loss on the car radio. But not us. Not Max, who had never seen the Tigers lose in person. He made us all link arms and pay attention. The entire section donned rally caps. Did those actions help Jhonny Peralta send that ball into the bullpen with a man on first? We’ll never know, but the final score does record a 4-3 Tiger win in the bottom of the 9th on June 20, 2013.

According to poet Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” All of us who had any sort of contact with Max that night, including everyone in Section 334 in Comerica Park, will always remember that feeling of immense joy as the ball made its exit from the playing field. It was more than a victory. Indeed, it was Heaven.

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The Words We Choose

Boston Marathon. There. I’ve said it. Two simple words. Nine Eleven. Two more words. Will we ever be able to utter these simple words together again without thoughts of terror? Recently, Nike was hustling to remove t-shirts from its outlet racks which had two little words emblazoned across the chest: Boston Massacre. Oh, and with a bit of blood splattered on the words to make it more gruesome. The shirts, which refer to the Boston Massacre of 1770, were created to commemorate two different series sweeps of the Boston Red Sox by the New York Yankees. So we use violent language to celebrate.

Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games tells us. “We may find that the language we use to use is a reflection of old, ingrained cultural paradigms. But with greater awareness of the sportual inner self, we can shift our real thoughts about the meaning of our sportual pursuits. Or, as Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” (p. 38) We have been using language of violence and war to describe our sporting pursuits for too long.

Thoughts become words. Words can help and heal, or hurt and kill — and then reinforce our thoughts. Is it possible to use different language to create a different thought? How about dance instructor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost a foot in the bombings, who has vowed that she WILL dance again, and the even if she has to crawl, she WILL run the Boston Marathon, even though she has never considered herself a runner. Ardianne’s will to move on WILL allow her to dance and run again, and her ability to forgive WILL allow her to feel joy again.

Sportuality would ask that we choose words that enhance our competitions – that is, language of ‘working with’ others, rather than working against, and elimination of the other, which leads us to warlike and violent thinking, and bad ides for our apparel. We do have choices in the words we choose. Choose wisely. Choose peacefully. Choose Sportually!

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Running for Peace

“Peace is not something you wish for. It’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.” ~ John Lennon

Through Sportuality, I’ve been fortunate to connect with the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, MI, whose mission is “Engaging with people around the world to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in our global community.” My connection is within the council on ‘Sport and Embodied Spiritual Practice‘ as a visitor. The council includes people from around the world who share the Fetzer mission and who practice it within the realm of sport.

On Monday, April 15, Love and Forgiveness were the least accessible ideas in the minds of those who would create the chaos out of which was to be the celebration of the 117th Boston Marathon. Like the Institute’s founder John Fetzer, I am also a student of A Course in Miracles, which provides a lesson a day for a year. My lesson today was #153: In my defenselessness my safety lies. While this thought may seem contrary to mainstream thinking, it truly is the only way toward peace on the planet. I found it to be an interesting coincidence that this lesson should appear the day following the Boston tragedy … and the ongoing tragedies across the globe … 55 bombing deaths in Iraq on Monday … and how many more senseless deaths from gun violence, war, famine, neglect, and abuse. Yet we still remain unable to secure a vote in congress for revised gun legislation. We seek peace while we continue to attack and defend. Recall the words of John Lennon: “Peace is something you make.” First we need to make a decision.

I also find it interesting that this act of violence happened at the Boston Marathon, one of the oldest and peaceful sporting events in the country. Running is competition at its best: a celebration; you run with the clock; there is no physical contact; no attack of another; no offense; no defense. Running just is. Where finishing is a cause for joy. Recall the discussion of ‘community’ in Sportuality – to have charge of together. On Monday, we all joined the running community as we realized our greater connection with each other and vowed once again to seek and make peace in spite of those who would strike fear in our hearts.

We have to join the running community and keep running … away from fear, away from violence, away from war…and toward love, forgiveness, and peace. It’s the miraculous vision of John Fetzer, and is indeed the Sportual thing to do.

 

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42: A Sportual Film

I am watching the Detroit Tigers play the Oakland A’s after returning from the movie “42″ starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, and there are several players of color in both lineups…a great difference between 1947 and now.

Throughout the movie, Branch Rickey voices his Christian faith to justify and affirm his decision to sign Jackie Robinson and break the color barrier in what was then white man’s major league baseball. One of the reasons Rickey chose Robinson was the Methodist faith mentioned on his resume. At least twice in the movie, Jack asked Rickey “why are you doing this?” Rickey’s first answer was simply, “Baseball ignored it, and now we can’t.” The second time was after Jackie received stitches from an intentional spiking at first base. Rickey began his answer by saying “I love baseball.” He continued to tell the story of his coaching at Ohio Wesleyan University with a negro catcher, and seeing the injustices he lived on a daily basis. He said it was…”unfair at the heart of the game I loved, and I could no longer ignore it.” He then went on to tell Jackie, “You made me love baseball again.” At the end of the film, our theater erupted in applause, which was to me, a Sportual victory.

During the film, Rickey also re-defined 2 words for Pee Wee Reese: sympathy and Philadelphia. Sympathy means “common feeling” or as Rickey told Reese “to suffer with” or “to share one’s suffering.” And Philadelphia, he said, comes from Greek origin meaning “brotherly love.” In the same way that Sportuality redefines words with the intent of creating a new outcome, Branch Rickey helped Pee Wee Reese understand the suffering of his teammate in a very different way. The scene following that conversation between Rickey and Reese is to me, one of the most powerful in the movie. With #42 standing at first base before the game at Cincinnati, taking abuse from the crowd, including men, women, and children, Reese joins Jackie and affirms his presence on the team in front of that crowd. It was a moving scene to see the child re-think his words in spite of the continued abuse surrounding him. After all, is it not the children who come to challenge, and who are the first to see the truth, or the fact that the emperor has no clothes?

On page 198, Sportuality defines sacrifice as “to make holy.” One of the stories in that chapter on sacrifice is about one Jackie Robinson, who through his choice and his actions, made not only the game, but this world, more whole…more holy. Two quotes introduce that word sacrifice in Sportuality, and directly reflect the spirit of “42″;

The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith.”  - John Foster Dulles

If you have a chance to make life better for others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on Earth. No matter what our station in life, we are here to serve, even if that sometimes means making the greatest sacrifice of all.”  - Roberto Clemente (one of the first Latin players to break into major league baseball)

42 wins my first annual “Sportual Film Award” for it’s truth, faith, sacrifice, community, and resulting joy. It will make you love baseball again. Thanks Warner Brothers!

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Sportuality is Alive and Well in Atlanta

Kudos and congratulations to the Louisville Cardinals’ men’s basketball team for winning the NCAA National Championship on Monday night. They persevered in their game plan and in the end outscored my alma mater, the University of Michigan, in an upbeat and exciting final game.

My take-away? Sportuality is alive and well here in Michigan, in Louisville, and throughout sport…if only we’re willing to see it…to feel it…to live it. George Bernard Shaw said, “The real moment of success is not the one apparent to the crowd.” In my thinking, success in this entire season would be the ability of all teams to experience empathic joy, that is to refuse to compare or diminish ourselves in the presence of something beautiful, such as our own outstanding performance even when it results in a win by “the other” team. As I say in Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, “We actually become enriched when we are able to honestly congratulate the winners and share their joy of accomplishment.”

Being a Michigan athletic alumna, I anticipated what a national championship might mean for my dear campus, and as I watched the game with several vocal Michigan fans, I began to recall my own words, and to look at these two teams with the respect of full seasons worth of work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. I will often say “it was a great game if you didn’t care who won.” Keeping this in mind, I saw Louisville and Michigan as co-conspirators in a greater dance of life – of sharing goals, of passion, of inspiration, faith, love, and yes….joy.

Sportuality is indeed alive and well in the NCAA. We saw it all: Competition, Community, Spirit, Communication, Enthusiasm, Humor, Education, Religion, Holiness, Sanctuary, Sacrifice, and in the end, Victory. Each of these words defined in the book has great meaning and purpose in shaping our thought about what we do together on the court – or on the field, or in the pool, or on a track. If we can change our mind toward empathic joy, the 2012-2013 basketball season can bring forth a greater spiritual understanding of sport and all it means for humanity. From the inspiration for a team because of a broken bone, to the victory of an underdog until the final, this was a rich experience.

And I can still say “Go Blue” with pride…while also congratulating Louisville. Well played, men. That said, there will be a whole new level of Sportuality if and when the Louisville women’s team wins the national championship tonight. Well played, women. Sportuality is alive and well always, in all ways!

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Violence Against Girls and Women: Sport can be a part of the solution

My friend and Kalamazoo College alumna Marjorie Snyder, is the Research Director at the Women’s Sports Foundation. She recently shared this video produced by the WSF about girls dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys by age 14. While our country celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX last year, the social messaging about sports and competition still needs a shot of positivity on the female side of the equation. CommonSense.org shared this information about such influences on girls’ body images. Research has estimated that girls see up to 400 messages a day telling them how they should look. By buying into the social norms, and dropping out of sport, these girls are missing out on several positive experiences that would make them stronger women.

And then along comes a March 27, 2013 article in The Nation by Dave Zirin where he calls on pro (male) athletes to help end rape. Says Zirin: “I left this meeting convinced that this is a fight we can win but not unless men themselves stand up and say “no more.” No more to the degradation of women, no more to the normalizing of violence against women and no more being a bystander when potential rape situations unfold in our presence.” Go, Dave! Now we’re getting somewhere!

But truth be told, I believe that athletes AND others have a say about violence against women. How about the marketing industry which creates these unattainable images? …Or the fashion industry telling us that this is what we need to wear to be attractive? That includes shoes. Unfortunately, most athletic shoes aren’t designed by those who are telling us how we should look. Functional isn’t often “beautiful.” We must also address the faulty thought that we can kill or eliminate that which is undesirable to us. Parents also must realize the effect of their words and actions around children. It is ALL of us who have charge of this together – our entire community. As defined in Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, community means ‘to have charge of together.’

At the heart of violence against women is the idea that women are objects to be owned and controlled; that those objects can be manipulated to the unrealistic ideals of those who would do the manipulating. Ultimately, as is sport, this is not an either-or solution, but a both-and paradigm shift. Ending violence against women will require the spiritual engagement of the entire community of men and women, boys and girls. Whether it happens through the cultural construct of sport or through our religious or educational institutions, or even corporate America, the spiritual solution will always address the whole person, the whole community, and the whole of humanity. We need a new idea. Let’s join with the Women’s Sports Foundation and keep girls in the game, where lessons learned will always make her stronger, and where we all can work together toward something much greater.

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A Sportual Detroit

Lately, the City of Detroit has been making headlines, and not really for the best of reasons. Being a native daughter of Detroit, I have been able to see this city at both its best and its worst during my lifetime. As a matter of fact, the lessons of Detroit have informed my journey to and through Sportuality, and I believe the joy of Detroit’s resurrection may very well be found in sport as well as sport metaphors.

In the March 17, 2013 opinion section published in both the Kalamazoo Gazette and online at www.MLive.com, Kalamazoo columnist Julie Mack wrote about such matters in a column titled “Detroit’s problems hurt everybody in Michigan.” Mack outlined the big picture issues and then mused “To be sure, Michigan’s economic driver is the auto industry, which is synonymous with Detroit, and it remains one of the greatest sport towns in the country. But in instead of a vibrant urban core such as Chicago or Manhattan, there is a city ravaged by abandoned buildings, a dysfunctional city government and school system, and a rapidly shrinking population.”

Yet, “it remains one of the greatest sport towns in the country.” Thanks, Julie, for that reminder. That is, putting the idea back in our minds the role of sport in the life of Detroit. Maybe, just maybe, sport is holding the spirit of Detroit while its mind and body are being reshaped by politicians and emergency financial managers.

Cultural visionary and radio and television pioneer John Fetzer owned the Detroit Tigers when they won the World Series in 1968, and saw their success as a means of healing the division caused by the 1967 riots. His legacy foundation which now resides in Kalamazoo, Michigan still has healing at its core: “Our mission is to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community.” And that mission rests on Fetzer’s conviction that efforts to address the world’s critical issues must go beyond political, social, and economic strategies to their psychological and spiritual roots.

The spirit of sport is strong and thriving in Detroit. Fans are true, passionate, and loyal. Home games for all Detroit’s professional sports teams sell out on a regular basis, and there is no shortage of affection by fans in the greater Detroit area, and indeed, the state of Michigan for the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings. Let the managers manage the economic, political, and social issues, but look to the players, coaches, and fans for the love of the game. I’m reminded of James Earl Jones’ speech in “Field of Dreams” asserting baseball’s importance throughout the years: “…it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

Venues change. Tiger Stadium disappears. Olympia moves on. The Silverdome is re-purposed. There is new brick and mortar, but the spirit of those who play and those who cheer remains strong and healthy. Sport metaphors – the lessons of sport – must be a part of Detroit’s resurrection. Perseverence, persistence, courage, risk, strength, team, commitment, enthusiasm…let’s give a cheer for all that was once good and root for it to be so again…for the Spirit of Detroit.

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Sportuality and the Pope

“This afternoon, the Church has elected a new Pope”

Change happens. There are first times for everything, and speaking sportually, this papacy may surely be a turning point for the Church. Pope Francis I has been described as humble, warm, compassionate, and transformative. Even this process itself has been different than every conclave in our lifetimes.

From the moment Benedict announced his resignation, the process has taken on the look and feel of a major sporting event, much like the international World Cup soccer tournament. The media has put on the full court press with reporters on site, headlines, pundits, metaphors, and much more enthusiasm than I recall from previous conclaves. Many are surprised by the selection of an Argentinean and a Jesuit. To reply sportually, “that’s why we play the game.” On paper, or in the thoughts of reporters and church officials, others may have been the front-runners for one reason or another, but on this particular day, in these particular circumstances, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio won the hearts and minds of his teammates to become the new team captain…

And just as an upstart team or singular athlete captures the hearts and minds of fans, Francis I will ride a wave of hope, of possibility, and of history. Granted, media has changed this process forever in much the same way that it has grown and shaped sport around the world. Both the Church and Sport have issues of corruption, abuse, governance and integrity to address, while both the Church and Sport can dramatically inspire the hearts and minds of their followers. Recall my statement in Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games that “inspire” means “to breathe in,” and that inspiration gives us meaning and purpose.

Whether it’s the Detroit Tigers facing the competition of the San Francisco Giants, or the Catholic Church facing the competition of Protestant evangelization in Latin America, both are issues of the spirit. Recall also that “competition” means “to work with,” so as we accept this idea of competition in sport and in the Church, the outcome will be elevation of all of us: Catholic, non-catholic, athletes, and non-athletes alike. Pope Francis I has been further described as creative, entrepreneurial, and an evangelizer, the very traits necessary for a successful sport team manager, coach, or administrator. We are naturally attracted to these types of leaders for inspiration in mind, body, and spirit – so necessary in this era of great change.

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The Next Big Thing: A meme for writers

Thank you to author, poet, creative photographer, naturalist, publicist and dear friend Zinta Aistars for tagging me in this Next Big Thing meme. I had no idea what a meme was, and as I type, I’m still learning. BUT I think it is like a sophisticated game of “tag, you’re it” that in the end lets writers reconsider their work and share it with a wider audience.

Here’s how this works: each writer tags several other writers after answering a series of questions about that work in progress. While I am new to the writing scene, I have had the opportunity to interact with and be inspired by other writers, all of whom I would call friends. They have all agreed to be tagged in my meme and to carry on the good word!

The first is writer, author and editor to several books, including my own, Robert Weir. Robert has authored Peace, Justice, Care of Earth, the story of Earth Day founder, John McConnell; Brain Tumor: Life, Love, Lessons: a medical memoir, and Cobble Creek: short stories and poetry based on the human experience. He has edited several other books, including Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, Spontaneous Evolution, and other Hay House authors. He has many essays, articles, and reviews to his credit. His new book will be co-authored with Rosalie Giffoniello in regard to her work to educate slum-dwelling children in Kolkata, India. His slogan, “have laptop, will travel” has taken Robert to fascinating destinations, each with a different, fascinating story.

Second, I’d like to introduce Karen Horneffer-Ginter, recently published author of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit. Karen is upbeat, positive, and quite humorous with her real accounts of the busy life of a purposeful 21st century woman. Her work encourages us all to stop and smell the flowers on a regular basis.

Last but certainly not least, I met Kurt David a few years ago after his work, From Glory Days appeared on the bookshelves. Being a Detroit sport aficionado myself, I resonated with his stories of retired professional athletes from each of the four major sport teams – Red Wings, Pistons, Lions, and Tigers. Kurt’s experience as a professional athlete allows him to relate well with those guys; to draw forth stories that enlighten and entertain.

That said, I’ll move on to answering the questions all authors will do in this meme:

 

1)      What is the working title of your current/next book?

My current book is Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games. After living with it for a year now, I have found that it requires a children’s version, so the next book will be Sportuality for Children.

2)      Where did the idea come from?

Sportuality began with the thought that we use competition more often to separate, to judge, to hate, and to justify violence, “us vs. them” thinking, and even war. Words that we use within sport, when redefined to their original meanings, can evoke more meaning and purpose for anyone involved in sport at any level. Sport needs to evolve.

3)      What genre does your book fall under?

Some might put it in the “spirituality” category, but it also appeals to sport enthusiasts.

4)      What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Several sportual movies already exist. Consider the following: Field of Dreams, The Natural, A League of Their Own, Miracle, Mighty Ducks, Bad News Bears, Brian’s Song, Hoosiers, Rudy, The Jackie Robinson Story, Rocky, Seabiscuit, and We Are Marshall…and insert others here as they come to your mind. I’m sure that more movies will continue to be made with a sportual theme.

5)      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sportuality redefines words commonly used in sport toward a higher purpose of outcomes of greater peace, love, and joy for all involved. The children’s book will be a letter to children age 4-7 so they might consider what kind of competitor or fan they want to be.

6)      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Balboa Press, the self-publishing arm of Hay House, published Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, and the Children’s book is still up for grabs!

7)      How long did it take you to write the first draft?

The original book was three years, first word to publication.

8)      What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sportuality is rather unique, in that it appeals to athletes and coaches, and also fans, parents, and officials. It definitely crosses genres, but I would call it a cross between Marianne Williamson’s “Return to Love” and “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand.

9)      Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A 30+ year career as a NCAA Division III volleyball coach combined with being married to a Division I women’s basketball coach, and parenting 2 professional athletes. I’m a pretty competitive person in a chaplain’s body, and I believe that sport has the ability to shift culture from a fear-based, violent culture toward a love-based, positive way to find one’s joy.

10)   What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Sportuality is an examination of sports at all levels from a Western perspective, focusing on how it reflects our cultural belief in separation and dualistic thinking, as well as how sports can grow peace, understanding, and joy. Sportuality crosses disciplines of sports and spirituality to help readers-athletes, coaches, parents, and fans-evolve a higher consciousness within sports and competition. Using a journal and questions for self-reflection-called a “box score” and “time-out” -readers can reflect upon and create their own sportual stories. By examining words traditionally used within sports, Sportuality helps the reader think critically about competition, community, communication, spirit, humor, enthusiasm, education, religion, holiness, sanctuary, sacrifice, and victory. Sportuality can also expose our learned beliefs in war and violence so we might be willing to choose the alternatives of joy and peace.

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