By Doddy Tullis
Photography by: Kimberly Lai and Sanya Hui
To have camaraderie means to have mutual trust and friendship with somebody else. There is a great importance in trust; it’s what allows our society to function without hindrance. However, camaraderie creates a more personal trust – an intimate trust between people that in some cases can turn into brotherhood. So how do we attain camaraderie with someone else? There are many ways to do so, but one of the most successful methods, a method that has existed since the inception of the human race, is sports. Sports is one of the most successful methods of attaining camaraderie with someone else because it requires determination, teamwork, and effort. And when everyone is working towards the same goal, pouring in their own blood, sweat and tears for the good of others, the fruits of that labour are often the sweetest.
One excellent example of sports camaraderie are team sports. The sport that I would most like to highlight is rugby. During this 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan managed to beat Ireland 19-12, which was a huge upset. Ireland is one of the top rugby nations, and is currently ranked 8th in the world. Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, has had a very long history of playing rugby; it’s in their blood, yet somehow they were beaten by a small island nation that up until recently was not heavily involved in the sport. In a sense, Ireland is Goliath, and Japan is David. Japan’s win is one of the highlights of this year’s rugby world cup, and the joy that it brought to the members of the tiny nation was immense. There are videos that show the joyous cheering of Japan when their David beat Goliath. Images of grown men crying tears of sheer joy for their beloved nation and the beloved team that represents it. That’s the kind of camaraderie that playing sports will bring. I think that the most amazing thing about the camaraderie that sports brings is that almost all of the people whose hearts were touched that day by Japan’s unlikely win do not really have any personal connection to any members of the Japanese rugby team. They’ve never met the members of the team, they don’t know much at all about their personal lives, they’ve never done anything for each other personally, so why did millions of people feel such great joy when Japan beat Ireland? The connection lies in the fact that not only are they of the same country, but because those 15 men who stepped onto that noble field, put their bodies on the line to bring glory to not only their country, but to their people. The connection between the normal men and women of Japan and the Japan rugby team is in essence, sport. There lies the true power of sport, being able to bring a nation together in triumph and joy, which is something that I and many others consider truly awe-inspiring.
Aside from the bigger picture, the power of sport in creating camaraderie is seen primarily in the members of the team itself. One of the reasons I chose rugby as a sport to demonstrate camaraderie is because beautiful rugby comes from teamwork, trust, and coordination. The majority of people are most likely unfamiliar with how rugby works and may not be able to appreciate the sport to its full extent, but the gist of it is that the players practice coordinated plays that will help them break through, or to gain metres on the field. These moves take countless hours of effort and coordination training to be able to complete smoothly, and when a move is executed perfectly, it is a truly amazing sight to behold. A good move will fool the enemy and allow a player to break through, which is how tries are scored. However, not only do these moves require immense effort and coordination, they require something more personal between the players. Trust. Trust that the other players on your team will fulfill their roles, trust that the ball will be delivered to whoever at the exact right time, trust that everyone will be in the exact place that they are meant to be at any given moment. Trust is gained through hours and hours of time spent together, working towards the same goal. Trust is often found in tandem with friendship; these two values help each other to strengthen a team. That is what it means to have camaraderie. Not only do the backs need camaraderie, the forwards need it just as much. They trust each other to put every ounce of effort that they can offer when in a scrum, they trust each other to be there to protect the ball when they are tackled. Personally, the part of rugby that brings me most joy is being in one of these moves. My favourite position is 13, outside centre. When merely practicing these plays during training, I feel a rush of exhilaration, caused by the perfectly run lines. As each player fulfills their role and runs their lines, I feel a sense of strength not available to me elsewhere. And when a play gets pulled off flawlessly in a real game, the sense of accomplishment felt by the other players involved and I is immense. Finally, camaraderie is also required between the whole team. The most important aspect of rugby is tackling, not letting them through your defense. It requires a lot of trust in your teammates to know that they will put their bodies on the line for the good of the team. That is why playing sports creates camaraderie. Camaraderie creates a well oiled machine, and in almost all cases, it feels good to be part of that machine, to be part of a team where everybody trusts in each other to uphold the values of the game and each other.
Not only can camaraderie be found in team sports, camaraderie can indeed be found in individual sports. A great example of this is martial arts. In a gym, people are training to compete in a fight, and they train their damned hardest to come out victorious. Therefore, just like team sports, everyone is working towards the same goal. This causes people to want to help each other. In a gym, you’ll often find people discussing strategies, tactics, moves and combinations. You’ll see people coaching each other on how to strengthen their weaknesses and reinforce their strengths. I feel immense pride for the gym that I attend, and that is purely due to the people that I train with. I think that it is imperative to note that for camaraderie to transcend the individual, it requires a community. That is why it is so beautiful. It brings together people from all backgrounds, from all races, from all ages. It is so very wonderful because it does not discern between any fickle boundaries. It will always be there, given that the people put in the time and effort for their fellow teammates, or fellow athletes. That is why sports has existed within the human race for so long. One can argue that sport has existed for so long because it’s fun, and keeps us fit and in shape. But I believe that is just the surface of the matter. I believe that sports creates camaraderie, and camaraderie is desired by all people. In the end, humans are social animals, and we like it when we are needed, and when we have people to rely on and trust. Sports bestows upon us that beautiful gift of camaraderie, and I believe that we should try our hardest to appreciate it and our teammates more. Next time in a game, try to encourage your teammates if they’ve made a mistake instead of berating them. Try your hardest to create a sense of camaraderie within your team, because I guarantee you that you will only feel more fulfilled because of it.