The power of sports to bring people together

Bridging the Gap


Andrea Martinez, Assistant Copy Editor


In a world often separated by race and language barriers, sports have the power to bring people together.

We are far from the history of being bound by restrictive rules banning integrated leagues and associations, and now have opportunities to experience different cultures through shared passions for sports.

Major League Baseball’s “World Series” exemplifies the power of sports to bring people together through the recruitment of players from across the world. The league recruits players from South America to Asia, thus stimulating world-wide interest.

International players in the NBA, such as the Spanish brothers Marc and Pau Gasol, who play for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Chicago Bulls respectively, and former Houston Rockets center, Yao Ming, of China, draw attention to diverse organizations that unite peoples.

On the court, field and arena, these international programs give players the chance to interact and communicate with people from other cultures. This helps break down stereotypes, change perceptions of foreign cultures and allows us integrate into a larger worldwide community not divided by literal and figurative borders. And fans, too, can learn more about international players’ homes, attaching names and faces to cultures they otherwise wouldn’t have known much about.

“Sports is something that people watch, live and play,” said CSUSM senior Va’a Wong. “It brings many people together from different backgrounds and cultures because we value the effort, the team work, the hard work and especially the fun that sports illuminate.”

Events like the Olympics and the World Cup ignite enthusiasm in fans from all over the world as they experience different cultures even while cheering for their own teams.

“Sports are exciting. Even if you’re from a different culture. Being around a crowd of people rocking gear, chanting or screaming their lungs out, this is the kind of atmosphere that gets the blood boiling; next thing you know your chanting and screaming as well drawing everybody closer together,” said Men’s Track & Field senior Jamal Brewer.

Although hostilities can erupt when sports teams compete internationally, country vs. country, there is still a high potential for sports to unite rather than divide the peoples of the world.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”