athletes · competition · disability · inclusiveness · motivation · racing

Motivational videos, conservative values, and the lessons sports teach us

Let begin by confessing that I’m a sucker for a good motivational sports video. I eat them up. They make me want to hop out of bed and get to the gym, or on my bike, all the while realizing how corny and cheesy they are. But that doesn’t matter. They stir me up and they get something right. They speak to me about the importance of effort and commitment and hard work. (I’ve written a bit about that here, What sorts of motivational sayings motivate you?)

The Grind (I’d like the alarm clock version! )

Swimming version of the Grind

Protect this House

Michael Jordan ‘Maybe It’s My Fault’

Meet the super humans, 2012 Paralympics ad

Now read What Fitness Tells Us About Conservatism’s Appeal. Here’s a short excerpt:

Eliminate the politics and nearly everyone of any partisan stripe idealizes conservative principles without realizing it.

How? Consider the world of sport and fitness. It’s nearly always a fantastic encouragement of individual expression and ability while also promoting a positive community at large. Those hard working, disciplined, don’t-give-up mantras have become more prominent in the last few years as America’s athletic personality has swelled with amateurs.

Mentally tough and intuitively conservative-minded concepts of hard work and personal responsibility accompany these ventures.

Does that make you feel differently about the videos and their messages?

For what it’s worth, I love hard work and personal responsibility. But I think the commentator above misses out though on some of the other lessons sports teach us. How about these ones? A team is only is strong as its weakest member. Never underestimate the power of teamwork. Respect your opponent. Everyone has something to contribute. We can do far more together than we can do alone.

Equally cheesy, I know, but just as important. It’s not all about individual effort. It’s also about working hard as a team and sometimes that means putting yourself aside for the good of the group.

Do you have any favourite inspirational sports videos? Do you think their message is inherently conservative?

Personally, I’m not ready to cede the language of hard work and responsibility to the right.

4 thoughts on “Motivational videos, conservative values, and the lessons sports teach us

  1. It’s incredible that I find sometimes resonance for some of your blog posts to parts of my life. My memory has Rick Hansen, the Canadian paraplegic who wheelchair spun around the world. Here I highlight when I worked as a medical librarian at the then called, Lyndhurst Rehabiltation Hospital for 3 years. Toronto was his last stop..and he was visiting our place, for adult spinal cord injured folks like him. It was an emotional entry of him into the gymnasium. Many patients were recently disabled for life (paraplegics and quadriplegics). Some suicidal. It was for them …and for staff, the physicians, phsyiotherapists, etc. who cared for the patients to help them return to different reality..

    Of course Hansen, wheeled in the Olympic torch at the 2010 Winter Olympics during the Opening Ceremony and I believe the Closing Ceremony.. He married his physiotherapist and they now have 3 grown daughters.

  2. True, my long time cyclist does occasionally get the boost of my early career exposure to sobering permanent disability: a lesson never to take your simple mobility for granted and to make healthy use of your body while you can. There’s a world to explore!

  3. …Never underestimate the power of teamwork. – an awesome statement and a great collection of videos.

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