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How Sportsmanship Can Save the World: PR Smith at TEDxTallaght

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TEDxTallaght [Dublin, Ireland] x = independently organized TED event Can a man throwing a spear stop a war? Can a man reading a poem stop a war? Can sworn enemies become friends? Just for two weeks every four years? The answer is yes! yes! and yes! And it's been going on for quite some time. In fact, over a thousand years. The ancient Greeks sent out a message to all the states to stop any wars or altercations they were having, so that local citizens could travel safely to this valley, called Olympia, where they held a celebration of sport and culture. And this celebration was a competition that embrace sport, architecture, music, paintings, sculture and literature. In fact, the last gold medal was awarded for poetry in London 1948. Ancient Greeks believed that purpose of nurturing the citizens was to educate man in both mind and body. And to get them to compete in sport rather than war. Also, the ancient Olympics and the current, modern-day Olympics the golden goal behind it all is to foster friendship amongst young people and to bring people from different nations closer together. Let's ???? the Olympics for a moment and let's look at how sport brings people closer together, even people from warring nations. Imagine this: The first world war, 1914 Can you imagine this? 30 yards away [27 m] they could see each other. on the western front. The British and the German troops were that close and they managed to throw a message, saying: Can we stop the war, just for a few hours on Christmas day 1914, to sing some Christmas carols? And they did. And they climbed out of their trenches and walked gingerly across, shook hands and then they exchanged tobacco, some chocolate and German barber actually shaved some of the British lads and the juggler did some of juggling to entertain everybody and then out of nowhere a British lad produced a football. And on Christmas day in 1914 they played football in no man's land, in the mud, for two hours. Sport prevailed and war stopped for a few moments or few hours. Fast forward to L.A. Olympics 1932, deep in the Depression. Amidst all of that the Olympics brought great joy to people having a hard economic time and this young lady, little Judy Guinness on the left hand side won the gold medal for fencing. But she was hit twice in chest and the judges didn't see it. And she insisted on taking the silver medal, rather than the gold. In doing so, she proofed to a lot of people that there was more value in integrity and nobility than winning an empty gold medal. And she changed the record books and instilled in a lot of people to honour and nobility is more valuable than just winning a medal. Move on to Hitler's Olympics 1936, Berlin Olympics. Jessie Owens won 4 gold medals. In the long jump - or it was called broad jump in those days - he failed on his first two jumps. If he did it on third time, he was disqualified. And the guy at the back there Karl Ludwig Lutz Long came up to him and said "You're great jumper. Jump from an inch behind and you'll sail all through." And he did just that. Sailed through, won the gold at the expense of Karl Ludwig Lutz who's doing Nazi salute back there and they became great friends. And they walked out of the stadium arm in arm. They never saw each other after that day, sadly, Lutz started ????? in war in prison camp in fact, and Jessie Owens never saw him again, but he said 'The friendship he had for that German fellow called Karl Ludwig Lutz was so strong, was worth more than all the gold and all the medals that he'd won. And because this friendship and advice he gave him meant more, too, meant help him to win that particular event and take all four gold medals. They never saw each other again but I do believe their families still exchange Christmas cards and that moment changed a lot of people's thoughts about German people, during the height of what was to become WW2. Fast forward on to an American guy, possibly the greatest golfer in his era by name of Arnold Palmer, he won 7 Masters and captained two Ryder Cup teams with a 12-year-gap, an extraordinary guy. But he understood the power of television and he understood that TV could spread messages. He said this once on television: "I believe golf could solve the world's problems and stop war." He said: "If I could just bring the warlords from war-torn countries together and get them to play golf to decide their issues, that they could find peace in this world." He said "People think I'm crazy but I'm not. I really believe this." Could you imagine Vladimir Putin taking a six-foot-putt to decide who gets the oil rights in the Antarctica. It's possible. Nothing is impossible, that is possible. Why not? Move on to France 1998 World Cup. When USA and Iran were ??????bag to play in the same group. It was a political hot potatoe. What they decided to do was to broke the rules - the Americans and the Iranians met for dinner the day before the game. And they decided that they would be demonstrate great sportsmanship - if one fell, they picked up the other. And actually they won the award for sportsmanship - the two teams, most unusual, two teams to winners. There are magnificent sportsmanship on the day. At the beginning of the game the Iranians get flowers and the Americans gave pin nodges to commemorate the event. And the photograph is of the two teams locked together, embraced in the brotherhood of sport. A day after it the Americans invited the Iranians to come and tour in America. So in just 90 minutes of football, they achieved more than 20 years of politicians flapping about, not achieving anything. Sport can prevail and sportsmanship in particular. This is my favourite story: Germany 2006. Imagine this: You're playing for your country. Your name is the Great Oswaldo Sanchez, the fantastic Mexican goalkeeper. And he's in his hotel room and the phone rangs and he picks it up and he gets the worst phone call of his life. It's his mother saying 'Your father Felipe has just died of heart-attack, please come home.' He said: 'I'm coming.' Jumped on the plane with permission from the team, flew all the way back, heartbroken and losing his dream to play for his country, but more so, for losing his dad. And when he buried him the next day, though having coffees and talking and... His mother said 'You should go back to the World Cup and play in it.' He said: 'Nono, I'll stay here and grieve with you.' - 'No, your father Felipe would want you to go back.' So he went back. He arrived back in time for the game on Sunday: Iran vs. Mexico. The tradition is when players shake hands at the beginning, the last people to shake hands are normally the two goalkeepers and I saw this happened: When Sanchez came down to the Iranian goalkeeper, he put his hand out and the Iranian turned his back on him and walked away. I was thinking 'What is he doing..?' The next thing he bent down, picked up a bunch of flowers and gave him the flowers instead - 'For your father, your papa!' and he hugged him. And it was just a magical and beautiful moment for sportsmanship transcends all the pressure and all the political shenanigans that sometimes are presented in sport. And these kind of stories inspire young people. They loved to hear this stories. Here's another one that happened here in Dublin. It's great to be in Dublin again. This is Croke Park. Croke Park is a jewel in the crown the rest of the world doesn't know about cause it's used primarily for two Irish sports, called Gaelic [football] and Hurling and they are our national sports, whereas rugby and soccer are foreign sports. And they are minority sports on Ireland. When they decided to rebuild rugby ground in Lansdowne Road the oldest international ground in the world, we had to find somewhere else to play. So GAA [Gaelic Athletic Association] reluctantly allowed rugby - foreign sport - to be played there. And we have to remember the context of this. The GAA kept the Irish culture and heritage alive during the difficult times of oppression from the British and military might. In 1920 the British troops went in and shot 14 Irish citizens dead. So you can understand why the idea of rugby a foreign sport being played there... But when England come to town and the English rugby team were to arive and to sing national anthem 'God save the queen' in this hallowed ground, you can understand how that was so upsetting for a lot of people, whose family related to the terrible moments that happened yesteryear. So the worry was that the behestem boo during the national anthem and there be riots - people are running out to the pitch and the riots on the streets outside and it was quite a worry. Anyways, as it happened, there was absolute silence from the Irish crowd for the English national anthem. At the end of the game I met Ollie Campbell one of great Irish rugby heroes and he said to me that moment (of the national anthems) was the greatest moment in his rugby career. Greater than anything he achieved for Ireland and for the Lions. That was that moment for there was an act of sporting reconciliation. An act of sporting reconciliation and it happened in Croke Park. Staying in Croke Park, just last year, this is Kerry vs. Dublin. The All-Ireland final when the two arch enemies come together and it was a fantastic final. Dublin hadn't won for 16 years. They waited to get their hands on Sam Maguire Cup for 16 years. They were locked level, which is minute or so to go and they get a penalty, 45 yards out. And Stephen Cluxton, the Dublin goalkeeper, steps up, kicks it through the post and within a minute the game is over and Dublin had won the Sam Maguire, the All-Ireland final. Everybody were celebrating and very few people saw this but one photographer did, and this is Tomás Ó'Sé from Kerry picking up the ball, bring it back to Cluxton, the goalkeeper, and saying 'You deserve this.' Dignity and graciousness in defeat are fantastic thing and young people seeing that... He's real good role model for young people to see it. There's nothing wrong with losing, as long as you give your best and to be dignified about it. What a great man of dignity is Tomás Ó'Sé. Just move to London. I live in London. London 2012 Olympics were absolutely fantastic. A celebration of sport and culture. It really was exciting time. The whole of city came alive and there were 70 000 volunteers that worked really long hours before, during and after the event and it made it a friendly Games. cause the place was alive, it was a real buzz to be in London, there was just a fantastic atmosphere. We were getting up to 3 stories about sportsmanship everyday from the Olympics coming and people sending them in to us. We post them on the facebook and ????? go. For example, North Korea and South Korea - a magical moment. These two countries are technically, officially at war together. Yet, they play the game at table tennis. And at the end they went off together and they chattered about table tenis. How wonderful sport can be and sportsmanship, the decency of what to prevail. We can't talk about the Olympics, being in Dublin. without mentioning the great Katie Taylor, who won Ireland's only gold medal as a boxer. Before her fight, there was never fight with this young lady - Nicola Adams for Britain. A funny or wonderful thing happened: All the Irish fans stood up and cheered her on... every single punch... lifted the roof and it was spotted by John McEnroe, the tennis player, he said 'Wasn't that extraordinary - the England-Irish fans, cheering on English girl like that. Wasn't that amazing?' And it was spotted by somebody else, which is the Sir Clive Woodward, he said 'Irish supporters screamed their heads off for Katie, but they were just as vocal for Nicola. This is a fantastic advertisement for the sport and it wants to. ????????? such a wonderful face, a smiling face a smile is a great thing. You can see... wherever she goes, but I want to tell you briefly, before I finish. I grew up in the Dublin in the 1960s, watching black-and-white television. And I remember this day of World Cup final - England vs. Germany, half of our house is up for England and half of our house is up for Germany but in one of the earlier games I noticed this guy, who ran like a chicken, his name is Eusebio He's also the best goal scorer in the world He scored, he was the golden boot's boy of 1966. Two years later he comes back to Wembley stadium to play against Manchester United the Busby Babes - George Best and all of that... 1:1... time minutes... he's cleans through... shoots... goalkeeper saves Alex Stepney saves us and he tells this: He goes up and he applause Alex Stepney and puts his arm around him and claps them. I told this story to some 400 kids at Dubai few weeks ago and they spontaneously broke into applause, which was one of those emotional moments. In Coolock here in Dublin, I told the same story to bunch of kids to two story telling sessions and two of the kids ????ock back in for the second session, because they've just gone into the stories. Young people like these stories about sportsmanship. So these stories seem to trigger something with kids And then I got letters from teachers saying there are children reading this book of sportsmanship stories that never read a book before in their lives. And that told me that something here have us connecting the young people. So what we are doing is trying to get people to send us their stories so we can share them. So we want the stories to collide with other stories coming on facebook and young people sending them in to us and then we can share and pass them on and discuss them further. And we share them on youtube and all of different platforms: blog, facebook, twitter, the lot. So we want the stories come in and colliding and being shared. And we want sportsmanship stories because sportsmanship, I believe, can save the world from unnecessary aggravation, and from unnecessary rage, from unnecessary low self-esteem, and often times it can actually stop us and save us from war. And finally sportsmanship, I believe, can change the world. It can help whole new generation of young people to boost their literacy, and more importantly boost their belief and optimism in mankind and to become a new generation of global citizens. Thank you. [applause]

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 26 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: TED Talks
Director: TED Talks
Views: 128
Posted by: rakosnicek on Dec 28, 2013

PR Smith is the founder of The Great Sportsmanship Programme, which changes the lives of young people by simply inspiring them with true, two minute stories about sportsmanship. Paul is also the author of Great Moments Of Sportsmanship as well as a series of popular marketing text books in the UK.Paul's sportsmanship stories address ethical values in the field of sport (and life). Values deemed boring by youths but exciting in the context of sport. Paul's BBC & RTE radio interviews reveal the type of stories. The Great Sportsmanship Programme targets primarily schools, clubs and communities in Ireland, England and the UAE. The video, 'Anyone For Olympism -- the real Olympic dream?', explains all.

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