Faith, hope and love in sport

Jernej Pisk


zveřejněno 30.11.2017 
klíčová slova: sport; theological virtues; ethics; faith; hope; love; spirituality

  • abstrakt

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  • In the Christian religious tradition, theological virtues of faith, hope and love have a central role. Along with the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance they present the whole of the good human life. While cardinal virtues can be cultivated by human will, faith, hope and love are given by God and therefore open ‘natural’ human life on Earth toward transcendent spiritual realities. Human beings as bio-psycho-social and spiritual beings incorporate theological virtues in all the activities of their life. In sport, faith, hope and love have an important, though often neglected, role. On a practical level faith can be recognized in any relation between athlete and coach. To trust one’s coach, without any guarantee that the outcome of prescribed workouts will lead to the desired results, needs strong faith, trust and confidence. Moreover, faith is the virtue that makes sport so attractive also for spectators even to the point of being a ‘secular’ religion for the masses. Hope is the virtue of ‘not yet’ or of something ‘being on its way’. For most athletes, daily workouts are not a goal, but just the means to that end. Any reason for doing sports needs a hope behind it in order to move or will oneself to action. Along with hope, understood as a golden mean, we find despair on the one hand and ‘false hope’ on the other. Both are corruptions of hope seen daily in the world of sport. To manage hope in sport practices correctly offers a path to success in sport at all levels. Love is at the apex of the theological virtues. There are many formulations of love both in ancient Greek and Roman times: eros, agape, caritas, amor. Each has its special characteristic meaning also in sport. In sport we can see laughter and tears because any love is connected with highest human joy and deepest depression. Yet, in summation, it is argued that love in sport must be understood as the binding force and source of cooperation and fulfilled life for any athlete qua human being.

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