Sunday, November 24, 2013
"Love and Forgiveness in Sports"...by Guest Blogger Jeanne Hess
This is a new venture for me...having a guest blogger joining us here at "Closed Doors, Open Windows". I do hope you will make her feel welcome!
Our guest today is Jeanne Hess,a native of Detroit, Michigan, and who was a varsity athlete at the University of Michigan in the 1970s. She has been a volleyball coach, professor of physical education, and college chaplain at Kalamazoo College for nearly 30 years, and is the wife of a coach and the mother of two professional athletes. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with her husband, Jim, whom she met in a gym. You can read more about Jeanne on her blog: Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games . Please give a round of applause for our guest Jeanne Hess!
Love and Forgiveness in Sports … in Florida
By Jeanne Hess
Like a lot of people born and raised in Michigan, I have a positive relationship with Florida. Even as a child in the 60’s I remember my grandparents returning from their annual Florida sojurn with gifts of shells and orange perfume. I think I smelled like oranges for most of my formative years. Maybe it’s what kept me coming back to the Sunshine State. From spring break trips to family vacations, to spring trips with the Kalamazoo College softball team, Florida kept calling. When my sons were drafted by the Detroit Tigers and made Lakeland a second home, we began to know Florida as more than just a vacation spot. And now a dear friend has relocated to St. Petersburg, and we’re making plans to visit and bring in the New Year. Next to Michigan, Florida is probably the state where we’ve spent the most time … it has become our second home.
Lakeland was the setting for a story in my book Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, where I describe the word “community” with thoughts about spring training. Literally, the word means “to have charge of together” so during the years when our sons played, we experienced the commitment of the Lakeland community to our Detroit Tigers, and therefore unity through sport.
However, while I have enjoyed a peek at the sun this weekend, my most recent time in Florida has been spent indoors at a seminar co-hosted by The University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Program, the Institute for International Sport, and The Fetzer Institute from my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This was an intentional community of sport lovers, students, teachers, motivators, and leaders, gathered at a Symposium on Love and Forgiveness in Sport. Now, before you go all “there IS no love and forgiveness in sport” on me, please know that everyone left this hotel with a greater understanding of the power of sport to grow, shape and change cultural norms and outcomes.
From the Red Bandanna Project with Allison Crowther, the mother of Welles Crowther, a 9/11 hero in the last hour of his life, to Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s Foundation providing young women the tools to succeed, to a video presentation by the University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace & Society on Coach Pat Summit’s legacy program for Iraqi girls, this 3 day-long symposium featured 12 presentations and breakout sessions where everyone engaged on the level of love and forgiveness. It is one thing to sit among adult colleagues or in religious circles to engage these ideas. But to bring them into the academic arena and to see graduate students in sport management critically discussing what are traditionally spiritual values gives me hope for the fate of our games, toward certain joy in the outcomes.