01 March, 2012


I must confess I am emotionally addicted to Softball. I was 13 when I started and 41 when I finished my career. I have sailed up and down the spectrum of emotion many times, from heart-smashing defeats to raging bouts of pure ecstasy and achievement. Softball is a difficult, highly skilled Sport where ironically, failure is successful (1 hit in 3 at bats, .300 batting average i.e. the equivalent of scoring 30/100 in an exam)). It feels like I’ve been anchored on the back of a Bucking Bull for 28 years and it’s never thrown me off. I learned to maintain the rhythm of coming down when I went up and rising up when I fell down. This is the true Gift of Sport. There is no sense in winning and rising up so high that you become untouchable and disconnected. How will that benefit the human race? There is no greater waste than smouldering in defeat and abandoning your post. Sport is my drug of choice. It is pure and natural and takes you as high and as low as you could possibly go. When truly immersed in participation, hard work, achievement, the cycle of winning and losing, Sport looks like a Giant Star in the night sky.

In fact, Stars form, shine, burn, collapse, rebuild to shine once more in stunning cycles of win and loss too. Through this process however, they are fighting feverishly to fuse together elements that are critical for creation and life. I believe this is the ultimate purpose of Sport and the unique responsibility of Athletes. If Life is about the Human Spirit, and it is everywhere and influences everything, Sport is one of the greatest machines to power its Evolution. I also believe, the World with all its recurring/recycled problems is screaming out for such an Evolution and new instruments of survival. It’s time for Athlete’s to play an unprecedented role in Sporting history and fuse together the emotional elements that are critical for the “harmonious development of humankind.”

I attended my first Olympic Ceremony in Atlanta 1996. We slowly walked up a ramp, up over a crest to the sound of an enormous crowd roar, which ignited our march to an excited team trot down into the main stadium. I still remember the feeling, as tears swell in my eyes as I type. World Union. Peace. Happiness. Celebration. Tears. Laughter. This was OLYMPISM in action.

According to the Olympic Charter: “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

The following day we were out on the softball diamond competing against China. Olympism morphs back into an ideal and is placed gently to the side, while Battlefields are laid out to test our Human Spirit. There is always a winner and a loser but after 4 Olympic Games, I can’t help but feel like there is so much more to it. That is what my 4 Olympic Medals symbolize to me.

Perhaps the World Cup of Soccer is the closest in resembling the Power of a Movement like the Olympic Games, but not entirely. Soccer is one Sport. The Olympic Games embrace 26 Sports. This is Human Spirit on a Super Level. To much heartache, Softball is not included in London 2012 or Rio De Janeiro in 2016. But whether we are on the Olympic Program or not, I urge our Sport to learn from our experiences, practice Olympism wherever in the world we are and we can still contribute to this much needed Evolution.

If these words reach the eyes, minds and hearts of anyone out there, from huge corporations to individuals, I ask you to join Softball in any form possible and we can go about the universal wisdom of fusing things together instead of pulling things apart. It’s time for LEADERSHIP and EVOLUTION.