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The Next Time Someone Says Sports Don't Matter...

On the surface, sports are wholly insignficant to the actual lives of most Americans - if basketball or baseball or football disappeared from our lives, we'd survive and eventually move on.

But athletic competition brings out something amazing in people, as Chad Ford discusses in his ESPN piece on the group "Playing for Peace." PFP brings children on opposing sides of war, like the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict, together in sport.

Ford investigates if it works:

"Sports is not your typical nonviolent reconciliation," Gopin argues. "It's aggressive. But because it's aggressive, it can have a powerful impact. It's a constructive way to channel conflict. It creates dialogue. It pushes things to more constructive venues."

If the creation of superordinate goals can help bring people together, create a new dual shared identity and reduce existing conflict between the groups, a sports program that brings together two different conflict groups and molds them into a team has the potential to be an excellent way to get people of different groups working together toward superordinate goals.

Instead of having nations compete against each other ... what happens if they compete with each other?

Ford, of course, is no slouch. He gets heat because not every rumor he posts comes true - well, duh. I dare anyone to find as prolific a pundit as Chad Ford with a perfect record. Ford consistently comes the closest to nailing the draft board in June, and has a rather good track record in identifying European basketball hotspots (even if he goes a bit to far on the occasional limp). And the guy is clearly overqualified to be working at The Worldwide Leader.

Henry at True Hoop pointed me to this, and has some terrific thoughts on the program and ones similar to it. He also finds the link where you can donate to help make the program a success. That area of the world could use some success, and some peace.