The eulogies from around the World for Nelson Mandela pour in.
On ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” today a point about Mandela’s understanding of sport as a great leveler was made.
How smart and how brilliant was this gentle man to understand the universality of battles amongst men which are controlled by referees who made sure that even in the hardest of conflicts fairness and the rule of law were adhered to.
For his many years in imprisonment Mandela used (Euro) football as an example of two sides of a conflict finding common ground on a pitch with a round ball. Prisoners played prisoners, Guards played prisoners. All looked forward to the competition…and the refs made sure things were fair for both sides.
He also used the tough sport of Rugby as well as football, once he was in the position of power to bring his people together and open up his boycotted country to the World of sport once again. He even brought the World Cup of Football to South Africa.
If we study this aspect of Mandella’s long-term plan for unifying his country we can see his philosophy of bringing his disparate and highly suspicious populations together peacefully. It worked beyond any expectations.
Nelson was Africa and the World’s greatest referee!