War is terrible and glorious. War shows the depravity of mankind. War shows the heroic valor of particular individuals. War should never happen, but we simulate it through our sports games every day. We want the heroism without the horrors. We want the heroism without the necessity of sacrificing life. War can never solve the problems of the heart. We hardly every trace the root of a war in the human heart, but that is where it begins. The cause of war is the human heart.
Sports are a story of the human heart also. There is athletic achievement which is the fruit of training of body and mind. There is the binding of human hearts to one another during training and competition. There is the weighing of one's character and abilities in the courts of the game. The winners and losers know more about themselves and their opponents in the end. Even if one possesses the ecstasy of a win , the opponents made the winner try harder and do more than ever imagined. The athlete does not compete for herself alone, but for her social group. The dignity of the group is at stake when the representative walks onto the field. Whether the athlete represents a school, city, region or nation, the few act on behalf of the many. If that representative fails but has competed with valor and prowess, heads are held up but looking for next time. If the competitor has failed to represent himself or the group with a worthy display, heads are held low. A win results in heads held high. A win is ecstasy for the many, not just the few. The loss is a point of self examination for all.
War is a story of the human heart. That is why we pray.