Sport has been used throughout the ages to unite nations. It creates a camaraderie when a community, city, or country all support the same team, contestant, or goal. Since the gladiators, the emperors knew this and used it many times to gain the poor's support by entertaining them to a bloody match of wit.
There's something to be said for the effect of a team on the human condition. It's the sense of belonging that all long for. Add into the equation that all people have a competitive streak, albeit not always in your face, and it's a winning recipe to create a sense of community.
Whether you participate from the stadium seat or making a bet online, every bit of support adds to an economy that's vital for creating a sense of community.
Some of the poorest countries worldwide with severe social and economic challenges have experienced the instant effect sports can have on a nation. A quick reference to South Africa winning the 2019 World Cup Rugby tournament proves this.
South Africa is a nation divided by political and racial unrest. However, it was astounding for the World Cup’s duration to see all races come together and support their National Team.
It wasn't the first time that sports had this effect on the country either. During the South African rugby team victory in 1995, the entire nation experienced a time of unity, peace, and prosperity.
According to Forbes.com, youth sports in the USA is a revolving $15 billion industry annually. It doesn't only bring children from all walks of life together; it levels the playing field. Sports doesn't ask about your background or which car you drive. It's the raw talent only that matters and is known to have turned many lives around for the better.
The cash injection into small community economies is a pivotal point to mention. When little leagues come to town, everybody smiles, not only the kids. With charity initiatives such as ESPN's "My Wish," hundreds of youngster's lives have been touched for the better. And, when a community's children are happy, so are the parents.
'Charity starts at home' is not just another proverb, as sports are indeed unifying and uplifting communities, from little league teams to varsity and world championships.
Nothing brings a community closer together than sport. With 2020 firmly fading away in the background, it's time to let the good times roll once again. On and off the field.