The Vatican’s Cricket Team and Faith in Sports

I didn't know he needed keys

The Vatican cricket team’s emblem: the keys of St. Peter

How is sport like faith? Faith can be similarly used for cooperation, friendship, money, or play. In terms of fitness, if anyone has been to a religious institution, it’s likely they’ve done hard labor around the temple grounds, or played in a soccer game with friends after a particularly long religious function. You travel for faith, taking planes and buses and walking to Mecca or the Vatican or church the way you travel for sport, to the World Cup or the Olympics or to your brother’s little league game. You watch faith, at your church’s Christmas show or the religious stories that air on television during Christmas or during a christening, the way you watch sports in a bar or at the match, cheering with your brethren, although damning the other team under your breath is not seen as serious as doing the same in religious ceremonies — though both can end in violence, as evidenced by when the Red Sox won this year. And you can celebrate faith recreationally, on your own time: what is the difference between playing with a ball in your office, throwing it and catching and just engaging in some fun, compared to saying a silent prayer over your child’s head, or giving money to a homeless man, or telling the person you joined in religious ceremony that you love them?

I was dazzled by this story about the Vatican starting its own cricket team. Continue reading

The Legacy of International Chess Play

This week marks another round in the FIDE World Chess Championship. Grantland writer Spike Friedman explains the game:

The FIDE World Chess Championship pits the reigning world champion against the winner of a qualifying round-robin tournament between eight of the top players in the world. The finals is a best-out-of-12 tournament with draws earning half a point. If the finals end in a draw, four rapid-chess matches are played as a tiebreaker. If those draw, then blitz chess, played with a three-minute starting clock, serves as the final tiebreaker.

Chess is a global fascination — the worldwide audience members of the games last Saturday, November 9th, crashed several websites. The Netherlands version of the BBC broadcast the game and boasted numbers of 700,000 watching –14% of their whole population.

However, the BBC is unimpressed, with 10 reasons why chess will always lack mass appeal for the sport. They hit on the lack of insight on the game, the fact that personal, local games in the park have more draw than a hermetically sealed international, and the romantic notions of chess – used in media to show how brainy, strategic someone can be – are definitely not supported watching in international play.

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And really, it’s nothing compared to Ron Weasley’s chess playing in the first Harry Potter book

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