Culture & Religion
September Mon 06, 2010
The cultural exhibits and expert speakers at the annual Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, held in Rimini each August, draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the massive conference center on the Adriatic coast of Italy; however, not every visitor to the Meeting is looking for a deeper understanding of mathematics or richer knowledge regarding the history of Hungary. An interview with one visitor revealed a surprising motive for attending the Meeting: “The bungee trampoline!!” exclaimed Sylvie Lewis, age 8.
The bungee trampoline is one of many athletic and sports opportunities offered in the “Sports Village,” which makes up a portion of the Meeting. There, visitors can find a full-sized beach volleyball court, complete with sand; an indoor soccer field and a basketball court; over-sized chess and checkerboards, with pieces that players must lift and carry to move; a course for in-line skating and another course where small children can learn to ride a bicycle; as well as many other athletic activities. Volunteers at several of these locations offer instruction and coaching to the visitors who approach.
A superficial observer might imagine that these sporting activities are offered in order to occupy and distract the children and the “uncultured;” but this would be a false conclusion. In fact, sports are proposed as an integral aspect of this extraordinary cultural festival. The theme of the Meeting, which this year was “That nature which pushes us to desire great things is the heart,” is posted on large and prominent signs, all around the Sports Village.
A visit to this section of the Meeting simply offers another opportunity to participate in the same truth and the same reality being explored in the exhibit on the Solidarity Movement in Poland in 1980 or in the talk given by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, to name only two examples.
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