Give Us A Problem… We’ll Address It With Sport
August 4th 2016. CAC’s second year partnering with Menelik Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Corruption is an epidemic with greedy claws gripping the international community. Sometimes it dons an invisibility cloak. Other times it stares you straight in the eyes. When corruption made itself abundantly visible to the ignorant members of the global football family, the beautiful game felt violated. So why not use that very game to stimulate dialogue on the issue?
The group of coaches is split into four teams. Each team lines up behind one of four cones equidistant from each other and from the center of the space. In the center lay scattered pieces of any kind of material – cones, bibs, balls, or anything (safe) that a coach can get their hands on. On this day we have cones and bibs aplenty.
The first task: one person at a time from each team sprints to the middle, selects one piece of equipment, brings it back to their team, tags the next person, and joins the end of their team’s line. Continue until all the equipment is out of the middle. Simple? Simple. 1-2-3-Go!
We have a mix of misunderstanding and outright cheating. We clarify rules – one person at a time, one piece of equipment at a time, and the next person must wait until they are tagged before they go. What’s the difference between making a mistake and cheating? Great – we’re on the same page.
Task two: This time each team has a goal of 6 pieces of equipment total and must decide how many of each type will make up the 6. For example they can set their goal at 4 cones and 2 bibs or 3 cones and 3 bibs. Then we will see which team has achieved their goal.
We allow the teams a few minutes. We hear their goals. We take away some equipment to ensure chaos. We test their concentration with some start-when-I-say-go-1-2-3-begins. We play.
We ask if they saw any cheating. They all point fingers at the other teams. We ask if anyone will own to cheating. A few raise hands. We praise their honesty. We ask why they think people, in general, are motivated to cheat? They discuss. We listen.
The desire to win at all costs. Because other people are. Because everyone else is.
How do you feel if you win by cheating? How do you feel if you lose but did not cheat? Why is the fear of failure greater than the fear of dishonesty?
Idea pause. Let’s play again. Do you want to play with or without cheating? Without? Okay let’s give it a go.
Third task: Same rules. But this time once all the equipment is gone from the middle you can begin taking stuff from the other teams. All previous rules remain though – one person at a time, one piece at a time, etc. If you want you can adjust your goals. One minute, then we play. 1-2-3-Go!
Good… gooooood… okayyy… niiiice… well done… uh oh… oh no… here we go…. OH MY CHEATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Absolute chaos. Let’s explore. What happened?
Some more accusations. Laughter. Some honest reflections. Some delicious silence.
Cheating was infectious. Like corruption? How do people become corrupt in your community? How can you prevent corruption? They discuss. We listen.
The group of 30 coaches from Boma, DRC organized by CAC partner Menelik Education, was curious with a dash of skepticism that sport could be used to teach subjects like sexual health and corruption. After growing better acquainted with our methodology and several CAC games, we hope they believe in the power of sport. A power, like any, that can be bent towards destruction… unless we choose otherwise, unafraid to fail, praising honesty and vulnerability as we explore the chaos.