Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Planet's Game

It's official...I got da World Cup fever.

The Cup kicks off in South Africa tomorrow, and not moment too soon. With all the bad news that seems to have a stranglehood on our global attention, here is a contest that has the chance to unify. Soccer (or if you prefer Football) is without question the most popular sport on the planet. And for one month, every four years, the whole world is "on the same page" on the largest scale that we will ever likely see. But even if it was not the most popular sport in the world, it would still be the greatest. There are many reason's for this fact but I would like to concentrate on just a few.

The game of soccer is truly a game for everyone. It's for the rich and the poor...all you need is a round ball and something that will pass for a goal. Many sports require expensive equipment that effectively marginalize the poor. Also, in soccer big or small body types are also welcome. Indeed many of the worlds best players are smaller in stature and even strength.

I have played soccer for years and still play in a "old guy league" and I can attest to the fact that it is also the epitome of a team sport. Weaker players can defeat stronger players if the unit as a whole is more cohesive. It is ultimately a game of imagination, not strength.

Maybe in the future (I say this donning my dreamer's cap) the day will come when our species evolves to the point where even national disputes can be settled, as the English say, "on the pitch". I will go further...why not make this goal a mission, despite it's quixotic nature?

And as all good missions need a rallying cry, I humbly offer one possible choice:

"Drop a ball, not a bomb"

Go ahead and print yourself up aT-shirt! We gotta start somewhere.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The earth is sacred to my people

When I was teenager, many moons ago, I had poster on the wall in my bedroom. Last night it popped up in a dream. I cannot recall the contents of the dream other than having a fond memory of what the words on the poster meant to me then, and still mean today. So, as part of my ongoing "quotation project", I am posting the speech from poster here... in it's entirety.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Chief Seattle, leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, from the U.S. pacific northwest (now Washington State). The year is 1855.

"The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. How can you buy or sell the sky? The warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother but his enemy and when he has conquered it he moves on. He leaves his fathers' graves and his children's birthright is forgotten. There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the leaves of spring or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I am a savage and do not understand - the clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lovely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frog around the pond at night? The whites too shall pass - perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the eagle? Gone. Where is the buffalo? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt, the end of living and the beginning of survival".

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sayings from the East

A few meditations from Asian masters:

When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough. When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.


The Great Way is not difficult, for those who have no preferences. To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind.


In the beginners mind there are many possibilties, but in the experts mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki

All philosophies are mental fabrications. There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things.


All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy. All misery comes from the desire to make oneself happy.