Tuesday, November 01, 2005

2006 World Scholar-Athlete Games

One of the great thrills of my life -- indeed i have to rank it as one of the finest summers ever -- i was able to participate in the first-ever World Scholar-Athlete Games. Two of my players also attended, Tommy Olafson and Amy Grace Tharp. Amy played for the eventual games champion (the team i coached finished third in that same comp). The deal is though, that for two weeks, thousands of the most intelligent, idealistic, well-spoken and charming young folks from across the world were part of a community of vision unlike anything i had ever witnessed nor, despite my own idealism, ever thought possible. The vision of Dan Doyle and countless others made something truly magical happen. Now we three went for soccer, but by the time it was over we'd discovered some intriguing politics, i'd arranged readings for budding writers and displays for budding artists, and compiled an anthology of their work. That has apparently blossomed (now including Photography, Dance and Culinary Arts) and the idea that scholars could be athletes has bloomed into the most fantastic collaboration of sports and art on the planet as far as i am concerned. One of the products is the new Center for Sports Poetry. After the exhilaration of that summer my team hosted and fostered National Sportsmanship Day and we worked hard at nominating and qualifying 13 players to attend the second World Scholar-Athlete Games in 1997. One of those was so enamored of the whole idea that he went on to compete at the Ireland Scholar-Athlete Games in 1998. I had planned to attend to coach again but circumstances dictated otherwise. Nevertheless i had some great kids experience something they'll never again see. Why all this now? Well, it's time now for the fourth edition. The third was held in 2001, but they've held off a year for this next edition to have it coincide with the 20th Anniversary of the Center for International Sport. I'm thinking about a bid again myself -- and i know a bunch of kids and teachers who ought to be a part of the experience [update: i've now nomintaed 19 exceptional kids and may nominate more]. See more about it for yourself here:
World Scholar-Athlete Games