Unification News for

February 1998


SportsFest Testimony

by L. Cowin

From the beginning, the SportsFest was a crazy whirlwind of stress punctuated by many, many ringing phones. My responsibility for the event was to put together a womenís soccer team for North America and to make sure they won. For a while, I thought that this was the most important thing I had to accomplish. As the teamís captain, I was responsible for making sure everyone got to the practices, got to the games, had the right equipment, and had the right attitude.

This wouldnít have been so hard to accomplish if all of the girls on the team were Second Generation or members of CARP. But of the twelve of us who played, over half were high-school students from Virginia and Maryland. Many times, these girls were uninspired in practice, or reluctant to commit to some specific schedule. They had to be pushed and cajoled into participating as a team, and were told time and time again to focus. Some always arrived late, most liked to wander off when unsupervised. If I didnít keep my eye on them, they would disappear during half-time and wouldnít show up until after the third quarter.

I desperately wanted the SportsFest to be a good experience for them. I was really worried that our program might seem unorganized or unsophisticated. There were many nights when I seriously told myself: "Why donít you just tell your central figure that the soccer team isnít ready to play and itís better just to cancel that event?" I didnít even know if the girls would have fun.

But I didnít realize the power behind this type of endeavor. I had heard Jin Hun Hyung Nim speak to us about how we were trying to create a global family where young men and women from literally around the world competed together as athletes, friends, and eventually brothers and sister. Jin Hun Hyung Nim had said that the SportsFest would create powerful memories. That the thing you would remember most was not the games you played but the people you met.

I watched the team as the event started. By the end of the tournament, all of them were really enjoying themselves. I could see them spread out across the sidelines, laughing and talking with people who came from countries we could barely spell, much less find them on a map. The North American team did end up winning the soccer event. We swept the tournament, undefeated and unscored upon. But I believe that these girls left with a lot more than a gold medal around their necks.by Hoon Pal Joo

"Come on, Oldman, just five more minutes...." My tired body betrayed me as such evil words of mind and body disunity were carelessly muttered out of my mouth towards my sudden attacker who jerked me from my sweet slumber.

"What do you mean, ĎCome oní? Get up, you spoiled kids...." Came the sharp reply from the dark figure shaking me ever so violently as if trying to get rid of my evil spirits with a grotesquely modified Chung-Pyung treatment. The broken Janglish was unmistakably that of my WCSF volleyball coach, Masaki-san, whom I, more often than I probably should, refer to as the "Oldman."

The time was 6 oíclock, at the crack of dawn, an unusually late wake-up call for us selected "lucky" few who were chosen to represent North America in the Third World Cultural and Sports Festival last November. Why so late? It was a Saturday, our easy day....

As I groggily climbed out of my CARP standard-issue 1 1/2-in. thick sponge bed, unable to withstand one more second of the Oldmanís "fatherly love," another full day of complete self-denial had already begun. Half-longing to jump back into the carefully body-warmed bed despite the Oldmanís unceasing naggings, I gave myself up to my uncomfortably strong conscience and was met with Shinji-sanís (our Central Figure at DC CARP) usual evil grin and a "Good morning, brothers and sisters...."

Now, every morning God and Satan duke it out in a fierce divine battle on my heavy eyelids as I try to keep awake during our Central Figureís (Shinji-san) "inspiring" morning service. A half hour later, relieved, as I claim yet another victory for the Man Upstairs, we finally reached the "thank you, let us pray...." But the day had just started warming up....

From there, we grab a quick breakfast of bare onion bagel on-the-go, that is if we arenít doing some fasting condition or something torturous to voluntarily make our blessed lives miserable. Then a rigorous four-hour practice follows at a local recreation center. Usually, when we first arrive at the center, some start shooting the basketballs, some start stretching, some try to catch up on the news of the outside world on the big screen TV in the lobby. For me, the first few precious minutes were usually spent trying to get in touch with God in a deep "meditation." The key word is: trying to. As soon as my eyes close, the Oldman is on top of me again, giving me some more of his "modified Chung-Pyung treatment."

Actually, I never blamed him-none of us did. In the past two Han Ma Dang games, Korea and Japan had dominated the volleyball event. The pressure was on, especially since none of us had any actual organized-volleyball playing experience, except Masaki-san of course.

The torturous practice was followed by three hours of WCSF promotions, followed by a lecture again by our inspiring CF Shinji-san, which was in turn followed by a two-hour DP study/lecture practice. After closing meeting, lights out at midnight.

So whatís the whole point of me listing our arduous, seemingly-almost unfair daily schedule? Am I complaining to any should who would care to listen, about me lost hours of precious slumber? Or am I even trying to gain some undeserved applause and attention from our Moonie clan for our silver medal? No, and no. My only wish in sharing with you today my timeless experiences as a WCSF participant is to convey to you readers one life-changing lesson I learned from this event: that of disciplining my mind and body so that I can become an absolute convoy to Godís love, will and strength. That of learning to think and work for the benefit of my fellow brothers and sisters, not just for myself. I have not only learned but lived the ideal of everything this movement stands for: the value of self-sacrifice for the sake of God-centered unity. Looking back, I am forever indebted and grateful to God and True Parents for this lesson and will gladly trade in my precious rights again if given another opportunity.

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