What do the haka, Rudyard Kipling poems and Muhammad Ali cuts-outs have in common?
On 6 April, Saint Peter’s School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, celebrated the IDSDP with a variety of activities: peace symbols, sportsmanship videos learning about inclusive sport, blind soccer, the haka, making IDSDP posters, studying Kipling's 'If' and applying his teachings to sport and making giant Muhammad Alis, each themed to one of Ali's six core principles.
sportanddev: Why did Saint Peter’s School decide to commemorate the IDSDP?
Firstly, Saint Peter's School has an athletics programme dedicated to teaching sport holistically, so students learn to appreciate the power of sport, and understand that their actions on the field don’t happen in a vacuum, but are integral to how we exist in the world. How we treat others, conduct ourselves, and find meaning in any moment - whether making a last gasp effort for the line or composing ourselves with a few deep breaths - these are all things which can help us become better people. Celebrating the IDSDP was a perfect way to show students that what we teach them daily has a larger, global meaning too. Students got to feel a connection with the worldwide community of sport, and began to understand how we can create a butterfly effect of change through our actions.
sportanddev: Why did you choose the activities you did?
We wanted a broad range of celebrations to reinforce the idea that sport has many facets. We also tried to integrate our IDSDP learning with some of the classroom learning that was happening elsewhere in the school. For example, fifth graders had been studying "heroism" and so picking a Muhammad Ali-themed project seemed a good way to go. I particularly liked our fourth graders' poetry project. In the weeks after studying the poem "If-", I had several kids recite lines to me during PE. One girl who missed a shot when playing tennis, realised she and her partner would have to go back to zero, and said to me, "I'm gonna have to stoop and build this up with worn out tools!"
It was a pleasure to see the children learn about inclusive sport and different cultures, and I think they are on their way to being fluent in the universal language that is sport!
sportanddev: What can be done to enable the IDSDP to reach a wider audience in 2016?
I think it starts with those "on the ground". We have a responsibility to drive IDSDP forward and grow the movement. There are some great people doing just that, such as Eli Wolff (Brown University) and Dr.Mary Hums (University of Louisville), and many others too. Keeping the mission of IDSDP in our hearts all year round is vital. Whether it's through activism, coaching, project management, or drafting policies, we can each pledge to work hard through the year so every 6 April is bigger than the last. We have to show people that reaching the upper echelons of professional sport is only one way of getting to the top of the game. Creating a better world through sport is surely a goal just as worthwhile.