#WhereChampionsPlay - The Uniting Nature of Sports
3 years ago
Sports have the capability to unite communities, build traditions and create champions. Connor Sports sees champions being made on their courts every year during the NCAA Basketball Championships and the NBA Finals. These sporting events demonstrate the power of sports as fans unite to support their team and players fight for the opportunity to become the champions.
The connecting and empowering characteristics of sports extend beyond the top tiers of competition. Cities, schools, cultures, neighbors and friends around the globe are connected by the love of a game. This is the case for the Navajo community. Basketball has become a way of life on reservations. Kids start preparing to make high school teams at young ages and thousands of fans pack high school arenas to cheer on their players.
Chris Wimmer of the Cronkite News provides a window into the importance of basketball in his recent article, Basketball at Breakneck Pace a way of Life on Navajo Reservation. Wimmer details basketball’s unique place in the Navajo community and discusses their special style of play called Rez ball – an intensely high-paced form of basketball that dismisses the clock, core and game situation. Rez ball focuses on just playing.
Rez ball is a marquee part of the Najavo community. It brings the community together around a sport that has blended the competitive and athletic nature of the Navajo culture.
The binding quality of basketball is seen in other communities as well. In Chicago, Connor Sports, St. Sabina and other community partners have built the Peace Games Tournament. The Peace Basketball Tournament strives to break community divides through the power of basketball by bringing together youth from different boroughs or cities on the court. This allows communities to build relationships and create brotherhood on neutral territory.
Youth from across Chicago freely agree to participate in the tournament. It provides a place for them to break free from prejudices and connect on the court.
Both Rez ball and the Peace Games Tournament exemplify the connecting power of sports. Sports have the ability to break down barriers and unite communities. They enable not just the elite athletes, but all athletes to be champions - champions of their community, champions of peace, champions of sport. This empowering nature of sports is the spirit of Connor Sport’s motto – where champions play.
Learn more about Rez ball and its place in the Navajo community by reading Chris Wimmer’s article.
Learn more about the Peace Games Tournament here.