Lots of thoughts today about the importance of sport, music and other forms of entertainment, recreation and self-expression. Also thoughts about the importance of multiple intelligences in sport, music and creativity.
This past week there’s been a buzz of activity in England in the arenas of sports, arts and entertainment. To ‘raise the curtain’ for the forthcoming Olympics in East London (just a month away now!) there was a festival of live music last weekend on Hackney Marshes – the Radio One Weekend. Music from three different stages was broadcast live on the BBC website, along with highlights on BBC3 TV. England played Italy in the quarter finals of Euro 2012. Wimbldon 2012 began on the following day.
Maybe we should start today with some thoughts about the importance of play. Healthy individuals play games, enjoy pastimes and play (and listen to) music for fun. However, through playing games children also learn a great deal – about themselves, about other people, and about themselves in relation to other people. This learning is essential in developing what 3Di calls personal intelligence and social intelligence.
Whilst playing games children learn to rein in excessive aggression, develop cooperation, respect rules and conventions, cope with disappointment, and show respect for opponents. This helps to develop what we call emotional intelligence (the control of destructive emotions) and spiritual intelligence.
Whilst engaging in sport children also learn to develop their physical intelligence – their appreciation of fitness and health, and their ability to discipline themselves to live healthily. They also learn to develop strong bodies, muscular coordination and good hand/eye coordination, as well as make best use of all five physical senses.
Instinctual intelligence is another intelligence that’s developed through participation in games, sport and music. Instinctual intelligence is the ability to respond instantly and spontaneously in a positive and productive way without needing to ‘stop and think’. This intelligence is partly hard-wired and partly developed through experience. It’s also developed through repetition and training. It’s the ability to be immersed in the Now, the Zone, the Whatever – with intense concentration and focus. This is what all top athletes, games players and musicians are able to do – to cut out external (and also internal, e.g. ego) distractions and focus on the task in hand. These are skills, abilities and attitudes that everyone needs – in order to live life positively, spontaneously, authentically and successfully.
Finally, we need to consider the need for high levels of intellect, or thinking skills, in the various forms of games, sport and music. It was interesting to hear on the radio this morning that in the opinion of Fabio Capello, the former England football manager, Wayne Rooney – supposedly England’s best footballer – doesn’t understand English. Capello was joking that Rooney is so indoctrinated by the thinking of his club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, that he only understands ‘Scottish’ when it comes to football tactics and strategies. This is a can of worms that we should perhaps open in this consideration of multiple intelligences.
Rooney has taken a terrible pasting in the comments sections of our newspapers in the aftermath of his poor performances at Euro 2012, and England’s exit from that competition. The criticism takes in his low levels of physical intelligence, instinctual intelligence, social intelligence, personal intelligence, spiritual intelligence, emotional intelligence and thinking skills. Phew! The full set! So much for the “White Pele”!
But of course this is what the best games players, sports people and musicians need – the full set of intelligences developed to the highest possible level. At that level the different intelligences combine and interact and thereby enable our creativity, imagination and innovation to function, as well as the ability to strategise and to use the skills needed to execute the games-winning abilities of the combined intelligences.
Many commentators on Euro 2012 have mentioned the ‘stupidity’ and the lack of ‘spirit’ of the English team. This is a rather harsh and crude way of pointing out the low levels of the multiple intelligences needed to be successful in this particular sport, and indeed any sport or pastime. Goodness knows what goes on in the various football ‘academies’ . Many suspect that the trainers (who should really be educators) emphasise strength, muscularity, power and aggression – which of course can only be one small part of the complex equation that creates winning teams and effective individuals. Hence the spectacle of our English ‘bulldogs’ having rings run around them by the superior play of the more educated and better trained teams they encounter.
Physical strength, aggression and determination will never be enough, on their own, to create success in sport, or in life. Neither will the thoughtless carrying out of the instructions of managers and coaches, whilst denying one’s own creativity and imagination. It’s time to learn lessons and to offer all of our young people, of every kind of ability and aptitude, an education for life and for learning in the 21st Century that’s fit for purpose and develops all of the intelligences.
Take a look at this link and consider the attitude of Andrea Pirlo, the key player for Italy last Sunday, in terms of his thoughtfulness, modesty and realism. If you take a look at the embedded video you should note the key point the commentators make regarding England’s lack of “spirit”.