By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis welcomed members of the International Skating Union to the Vatican on Thursday with a reflection on the beauty of sport.
Noting that the aim of the Union is not only to promote ice skating worldwide, he said it is also to allow more and more people to experience the beauty of this sport.
“All sports are in fact a cause and an expression of joy: ‘the joy of exercising, of being together, of being alive and rejoicing in the gifts the Creator gives us each day,’” he said.
Freedom of movement, discipline, personal excellence
This is true, in a particular way, for those who skate he said, remarking on the fact that “skating offers an exhilarating experience of life and freedom of movement, together with a training in discipline, team work and the pursuit of personal excellence”.
The Pope also highlighted the value of the sport as an inclusive one, that he said, erases social barriers and is open to people of every age.
Pope Francis’s directed the last words of his discourse to managers and trainers urging them to guide young people helping them “through athletics, to mature as productive members of the larger community”.
Precious preparation for running the race of life
“The values of respect, courage, altruism, balance and self-control learned in sport are a precious preparation for success in running the race of life,” he said: “Sport, in a word, is always meant to be at the service of humanity”.