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The Universal Power of Sport

Women’s 5,000m runners cast a shadow across the tr Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Most summers if you go to the University of Winnipeg on a certain Friday in the summer you will see around 500 kids trying new sports. They might be the in gym at the Duckworth Centre or in the new RecPlex playing on the fields or playing low organized games outside. The day is Sports Day which is both my eternal nightmare and the work of the Newcomer Youth Education Support Services (there is no actual website for the organization). The group helps newcomer youth to the city through academic summer programming (for free) and the five groups under the umbrella organization usually meet up twice with all the students: once for Sports Day and once for Final Night.

Sports Day is stressful, but is also a day where newcomers make new friends, play new sports, and practice lifelong skills like co-operation. More than that, you see kids who lived their whole lives in refugee camps be able to play soccer on a beautifully maintained indoor field or learn how to play football for the first time.

Sports do not make me cry. I am a heartless robot. But usually for one day a year the stress around sports is making sure everyone is fed, no one gets hurt (LOL) and that everyone has fun. Sports are something that bring people together regardless of what language they speak or where they are from. They help us find commonalities between us and celebrate out differences and similarities. Sports don’t make me cry, but they remain a powerful force around us.