The late Nelson Mandela and sports

Published: December 6, 2013, 11:39 am, by Paul Klee

Give this a read when you have a minute. It’s the obituary for Nelson Mandela in the New York Times.

This isn’t some loose attempt to frame history, and I’m no South African historian. This is merely a sports blog, a Colorado sports blog, but we know Mandela valued competition and the spirit of competition. He was an amateur boxer. And you’ve probably seen the Matt Damon movie “Invictus,” which portrays South Africa’s defeat of New Zealand in the 1995 rugby World Cup. His final public appearance came at the 2010 soccer World Cup.

These are some of his sports ties, and I’m certain we’ll be reminded of more, hopefully on a 30-for-30 at some point.

“Sports has the power to change the world,” Mandela once said.

What has always struck me about Mandela’s life is his willingness, and ability, to forgive. Forgiveness is not always a strength of mine, and most of us probably can say the same. Instead of forgiving and moving forward, we usually go the other way, fighting a fight with another fight that leads to another fight. It’s pretty much the opposite of progress.

Here’s a man who was tortured and humiliated and mocked. Instead of fighting his enemines with vengeance, he fought them with a solution. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies,” he once said.

Anyway, give it a read some time. 

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette