You are here

Round one: We are being dismissed as young and trivial

Round one: We are being dismissed as young and trivial

The sector has grown into young adulthood but is losing out when the stakes are high and the challenges complex...

How has the S&D community contributed to the MDGs?
The expanding list of international sport for development projects and activities is truly astounding. Over the past 25 years, the S&D community has grown leaps and bounds towards a more sophisticated movement that includes a deeper commitment to evidence-based research/practice and meaningful collaboration within and outside the S&D sector. S&D efforts have also become more intentional, flexible, and reflective; and less abstract, happenstance or ad-hoc.

Therefore, it can be argued that the S&D community has made significant contributions to the MDGs, as documented through a growing number of reports, scholarly articles, international, regional and national conferences that highlight the diverse range of sport for development projects created to address one or more of the MDGs. 

How far have we come as a sector?
In light of the upcoming American holiday - Thanksgiving, I cannot resist the temptation to paint a picture in response to this question. Remembering that no analogy is perfect, please allow me the opportunity to share my thoughts in this less traditional manner.

As most young, single adults have probably experienced during the family Thanksgiving meal, there is always the question of who will sit at the “adult” table and who will be relegated to the “kids” table. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of this standing holiday dilemma (and often the topic of many holiday jokes), let me provide a little more context to set the stage. 

"A certain level of maturity"
Being afforded the privilege of sitting at the “adult” table means you have reached a certain level of maturity and acceptance as someone deserving of higher-level conversation, decision-making and stature. On the other hand, being relegated to the “kids” table means you have not yet gained the necessary respect from your elders that allow you to have a voice in the adult conversation.

Your perceived “youthfulness” is regarded as inexperience that translates into a lack of credibility or wisdom. You haven’t proven or demonstrated the same ability to contribute to the conversation as your older, more sophisticated and wiser grandparents, aunts, uncles or married siblings. 

I believe that we have grown up into young adulthood – we are no longer children who are still trying to figure out who we are and what we will be when we grow up. We have matured quite a lot in the past few years and our experiences have taught us a great deal about our place in this world. We have a greater appreciation for what is possible and a better understanding of what is not – we still dream big dreams about what could be – and we hope we never lose that sense of possibility or believing that we can make a difference.

We are at least recognised now as having something valuable to offer, but not in every circumstance or conversation. When the stakes are high and the challenges so complex that even the most sophisticated solutions seem to carry little hope for success, we are quickly dismissed for our “youthful” and “trivial” contributions.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]

E-Newsletter subscribe