Sporty families have one thing in common. Growing up, the family was involved in fun sports at home, the park, the beach, on the street … wherever.
Our family was no different. My father tells his friends about those hellbent days where nothing was given, everything was up for grabs, champions left the other three brothers in a pile up against the back yard fence or straddled over the park playground – you get the picture. No quarter given in family sports.
Cricketer Greg Chappell tells similar stories with his brothers at the Adelaide family home, playing cricket in the back yard. This was international cricket at its best, with each brother designated a country and the best cricketers of the era.
Friends of ours with girls in their families exercised similar sports endeavours – beach volleyball, beach cricket, stump cricket, netball, soccer – you name it. The girls were equally into it.
What this says about us as a nation, is the way in which families of all descriptions build their respect and filial love for each other - it's like an unspoken celebration where each family member becomes engaged and involved – especially the nature of changing the rules to ensure the youngest gets a fair go. It's family.
Mum is there in case someone needs a cuddle after a horrible sibling is nasty as, or is the sporting hog of the century. Dad is there to establish the rules (his rules) and ensure fair play (or lack of jurisprudence) is demonstrated.
Family sports also breed experience for life outside the family where competition is the nature of the game - the school yard, inside the class room, sharing the pencils (now the lap top), the best positions in class, the teacher's pet status, the school assembly positions, the school sports - then come the teenage years.
All thru life each of us might reflect upon the lessons we learnt in family life - courting, marriage, children, the psychology of our work place, how best we bring together rather than tearing apart. The Scriptures are replete with similar stories, consider Jesus whom even the leaders marvelled.
Josh Hinds is a school chaplain and an experienced international sports writer.