The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are in New Orleans gearing up for America’s football championship: Superbowl XLVII. This year’s game is a family affair, as brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, head coaches of the 49ers and the Ravens, go head to head. The Harbaugh brothers are proud and excited to be playing against each other, but they don’t want the focus to be on them. Both coaches are stressing that getting to the Superbowl is a team effort, and winning it will be one too. “Coaches and players working together make each other better” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
That’s the mantra at PeacePlayers International too. PPI focuses on playing and learning together as a team, even though teammates often come from different and historically conflicting groups. In Cyprus, Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot boys and girls play together on a basketball court in the United Nations Buffer Zone. Jews and Arabs in the Middle East as young as 8 years old, play together at the Hand in Hand school. Catholics and Protestants help each other score baskets in Northern Ireland and South African players in Durban battle tough issues such as poverty and HIV/AIDS. No matter what the differences or challenges are, on the court, players and coaches have an opportunity to overcome them as one united team.
As we gather with our friends and family to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, take a moment to think about all the children around the world that are using sport to improve their lives and transform the communities where they live.