Posted March 26, 2008
Book: Saint Benedict’s Rule for Fair Play in Sports: Being an imagined guide for the 6th Century founder of Western monasticism for 21st Century athletes, coaches, and fans
Author: Larry Haeg
College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. Collegeville, MN. 2007. Pp. 105
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Saint Benedict is with us today. Reincarnated as a college student, he finds the two pillars of his 6th Century Rule — ora et labora (worship and work) — are not enough to cope with the daily demands of our 21st Century. Something more is needed for women and men of all faiths to live a good life in any community: exercise, play, sports and athletics. So he composes his Rule for Fair Play in Sports — how to integrate worship, work, and play into our frantic lives, through the lens of his 6th Century Rule.
Larry Haeg scans Saint Benedict’s original Rule and finds the traits of an athlete in training – personal discipline, self-denial, perseverance – and the athlete influence of ancient Greece, the Old Testament, Saint Paul, even Lao Tzu. He imagines today’s young Benedict a natural athlete, player-coach, rabid fan, someone who connects the dignity of physical labor and exercise — “the good sweat common to both.”
So, daughters and sons, please “incline the ear of your heart” to the good word (bene dicto) on fair play in sports from our young visitor from the 6th Century: “Sports can be a ‘sacrament.’ It can have a sacred purpose, be a spiritual journey, an opportunity to seek God.”
An Excerpt from the Book:
All members of the team share equally in the school’s resources as members of one community – so all sports equipment is community property, not property of the athletes. All on the field of play receive an inheritance frm those who preceded them. Thus there is, to paraphrase David McCullough, no such person as a self-made athlete. Each is endowed, developed, enriched by innumerable benefactors known and unknown.
Table of Contents:
Prologue: What are “Sports for?
1. We search for God: “Sports can be a ‘sacrament’
2. Community living: “Sports as ‘of’ the community”
3. Taking counsel: “All on the team can benefit from counsel”
4. Respect for persons: “Sports reveal character”
5. Dignity of work: “The sacred vessels of sports”
6. Hospitality: “The opposing team as partner not enemy”
7. Stewardship: “Athletes as stewards of the game”
8. Re-creating the whole person: “What does God expect of me?
9. Moderation: “Sports as the ‘good zeal”
10. Listening: “The ‘attentive ears’ of coaches and players”
11. Common Good: “All are ‘Number One’ in God’s eyes
12. Justice: “Equal resources inside and outside the walls”
Epilogue: Time to Play!