England have shown us the true goal

HOW did you feel on Monday morning after the traumatic loss of that penalty shoot-out?

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 7:29 pm
England are connected by shared values. Picture: AFP/Getty

We love football in our house and I’d been able to watch all the England games through each stage of the tournament. It seemed such a cruel way for it all to end. So close, yet once more our hopes were dashed.

And yet…

The success of the England team, the fact they were able to reach that final, holds lessons for us all to learn. In this tournament, a group of great individuals consistently played as a team that was better than the sum of the individual parts. The credit for this needs to go to Gareth Southgate and his coaching team.

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It was clear that his England team had a shared set of values that connected them all and played out in every aspect of what they did. Values all about honesty and respect and commitment.

Southgate created a culture of acceptance and support that gave people the confidence to play with freedom. It was about the whole squad pulling together, whether they were on the pitch or not. ‘We win together, we lose together,’ formed a bond that helped them all to do well.

This bond was not just about what happened in the matches. They stood together against racism from the start of the tournament and responded with dignity when the abuse on social media came their way at the end. It transformed them from players into heroes. Even in defeat.

As we all emerge from this period of pandemic chaos, we need to actively choose good values that will hold our society together.

We’ve learnt a lot about self-sacrifice and supporting the vulnerable. These values are consistent with those of our Christian faith. We find in church it works best when we come together with the common goal of creating better communities for all. As we do this, we hope the values of love and mercy and justice spill into our wider networks. It works because our coach, Jesus, always wants us to play that way.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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