“When I was little I liked football, but I also played basketball, my dad’s sport. To have fun, a ‘pelota de trapo’, a ball of rags was enough. I was a ‘pata dura’ and then they always put me in the door to be a goalkeeper was a great school of life”
“Doping cancels dignity. No sample is built in the laboratory. Sometimes it has happened, but time unmasks them. Talent is a gift”
The Pope’s words reach us at the crucial moment when the world of sport, deeply marked by the year of the pandemic, faces 2021 with great energy to restart and with the need to anchor itself to fundamental values.
What La Gazzetta dello Sport delivers to the whole world of sport is a precious document, which can be considered a “secular encyclical” on sport. Pope Francis answered about thirty questions, ranging from profound values to many memories of life, travel reflections, encounters. The first part of the interview, which summarizes his thoughts on the value of sport, is structured around seven key words: loyalty, commitment, sacrifice, inclusion, team spirit, asceticism and redemption. Respect for the rules and refusal of shortcuts, responsibility for one’s talent, motivation to face sacrifice; and then the human ecumenism of the Olympic Games, the team spirit, the exercise that makes ascetics, the hunger for redemption: these are the concepts that underlie the sporting choice. In his words, sport is also joy, celebration, fun, the ability to make us better: with so many anecdotes and references to historical events and characters, the Pope gives us a vision of great breath and hope. From Maradona to Alex Zanardi to Gino Bartali the Holy Father comments on the deeds and life of the great sports.