'Celebrating the uniting power of sport this summer'

England players celebrate with the trophy following victory over Germany in the UEFA Women's Euro 20

England's Lionesses celebrate winning the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 - Credit: PA

However terrible it sounds, and not for broadcasting, I didn’t care that much if England’s women won or lost.  

Football isn’t my thing and I generally use match time to shop, eat, get my nails done or bash out some vital emails.  

This all changed last week when, like my sport crazy husband Dan, I dropped everything, both of us glued to the telly where we cheered our roaring, soaring Lionesses on their way to the astonishing victory in the finals of the Euros against Germany. 

Faced with both the Euros and the Commonwealth Games, my choice has been stark – "if you cant beat ’em, join ’em".

Laura Marks OBE

Laura Marks has been enjoying watching some sport this summer - Credit: Laura Marks

I admit I had joined ’em last Thursday too, for the spectacular opening ceremony of the Games, which focussed on the cultural and religious diversity of Birmingham. In poured the teams, one by one, filling the space with optimism, positivity and joy – us watching them through the TV and them watching us back on their smart phones.  

The laughing, chatting, brightly coloured torrent of energy wound its way into the stadium the teams merging together to sing along with Duran Duran a song released before most of them were born.

For me, this was the magic. The sport itself is, well, nice, but what entranced me was the feeling of unity, celebrating with people, young and old, with or without disabilities, different religions, languages and degrees of jet lag. From my couch here in north London, I felt a small part of this massive melting pot of multicultural, multifaith, magnificence – one single society.  

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“Society," wrote the late Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, “is where we come together to achieve collectively what none of us can do alone. We inhabit it, make it, breathe it. It is the realm in which all of us is more important than any of us. It exists to the extent that we all work for it and contribute to it.” 

I check the Games schedule daily in case I am tempted, and I wish every competitor, from whichever corner of the globe, the best of luck and my most sincere admiration. I’ll be watching, whilst I bash out just a few emails.     

Laura Marks OBE is founder of Mitzvah Day, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and an interfaith consultant – commongood.uk.com