Soccer was a big part of my upbringing. I remember the passion in my family as we watched the Colombian National team play Germany in the 1990 World Cup. The streets of Chinchina, Colombia resembled a ghost town. At one point, during a pivotal game, the whole country erupted with Joy and Celebration as Freddy Rincón scored his epic goal through the legs of the German keeper.
Colombia, a nation with many problems, united for a common cause. The joy seemed to calm the violence temporarily, but eventually the violence would surface in the very sport that brought the joy. The murder of Andrés Escobar, an honorable player who accidentally made an own goal that cost his life.
I experienced violence in my own life when drunkeness would spin out of control amongst family and friends. My father, an honorable man, was great at diffusing the situation. Thankfully, I followed in his footsteps. The more violence occurred the more I wanted to stop it. It was almost like I craved being a peacemaker. Fast forward to present day, and I find myself doing the same during PS2G games.
I once asked a player with cleets to step off the field for his own safety and that of the other players. The field was a turf field, and we didn’t allow cleets. His friend disagreed and tried to convince me to break the rule. We entered into a back and forth, and his anger began to elevate. I held my ground and tried to respond with compassion, but he cursed me and said I was full of hate.
What causes us to react in anger? Is it innate? Is it our history or culture? I’m not the judge. However, that moment did open my eyes to the healing power of PS2G on the pitch. If PS2G game leaders embrace the practice of fighting any violence with compassion, we will make a difference, and through local games we will truly achieve global change.
What can you do to show compassion in aggressive situations?