The most raw experiences participants and audiences still have in the world is the experiences they share in the arena of sports.
In an era where most of the news is known before it can even be digested, the realm of sports offers people an opportunity to experience something almost unknown these days: the unknowable outcome.
Will she make the jump over the horizontal pole, or not?
Which car will cross the finish line first without crashing?
Will the team who has an undefeated record lose this week?
The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Unknowable outcomes move people with the drama, the action and suspense of story, without all the prefabricated feel of false entertainment. And when we live in an era where “reality stars” appear to be ever more fake and ludicrous, sports offers hope of seeing a genuine person perform well—or fail miserably.
We read an article recently about the growing popularity of cross fit in the United States and a trainer was quoted as saying: “There’s no bullshit in sports. Either you can lift the weight or you can’t. You say that you can deadlift 450lbs, well then let’s put on the plates and see.”
It also applies to conflicts.
Conflict and peace are unpredictable and, much like sports, just when you think that you know the score or the outcome, someone, or something, can sneak in for the win or the tie.
In a conflict, there’s plenty of bupkiss floating around, and its tough when the stories we tell (which are heavier than any weight we could possibly deadlift) are piled on the bar. And then, the people opposite us may tell us that “Either you can lift it or you can’t.”
But the unknowable outcome still drives us in sport and in conflict. So, we here at HSCT have a proposal: What if we had an Olympic Games for conflict management, peace building, coalition forming, collaborative law and conflict resolution?
Would anyone show up to watch that thrill and agony?
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org