What do you do if you suddenly lie completely helpless on the ground and the world above you collapses? What does strict discipline have to do with pure joy of live? How can a fraction of a second determine success or defeat or even life or death? Once again, the annual Sport Forum Aargau offered the spectators one highlight after the other – impossible to decide what surprised, inspired, and moved the audience the most that evening.

One of my first tasks at Wylkomm was to develop a communication concept for the SPORT Forum Aargau on 19 September 2019. The aim was to increase awareness of the event and thus to attract a bigger audience. Of course, I was very excited about the event and haven’t been disappointed. Inspired by the moving stories behind the athletes, the fascinating personalities, and the sportsmanship of the audience, I was carried away into the world of sports.

The SPORT Forum Aargau, this year under the motto “SPORT and decision – what really matters”, was opened by regional government member Alex Hürzeler, Head of the Department of Education, Culture, and Sport. For him, as a political functionary, decisions require thorough and conscientious preparation. He reported on the responsibility of the Aargau government as a pioneer, promoter, initiator, and helper of sport.

David Mzee was the first athlete to attend the evening. He gave us a very personal insight into his tragic and impressive history. He reported on the decisions that brought him to where he is today. Starting with the fatal decision to make a triple flip, where he fell in such a tragically way that he had to live with the diagnosis of paraplegia, over the firm decision not to let it get him down to the decision to continue devoting his life to sport. Today, only a few years after the accident, he is a sports teacher, rugby national player, and just as adventurous sportsman as before the accident – and all with great passion and zest for life.

The talented rower Pascale Walker fascinated with the speed with which she developed from an absolute beginner – who even disliked the sport at first – to a rower who could show her first wins after only four months. She even won the European championship only a few years later. There were some turning points at which she had to make important decisions, such as pursuing a professional career or staying in the amateur field. Her iron discipline is her driving force, which makes her a role model of willpower. 

The next speaker Christoph Kuch, world champion of mental magic, did not seem to fit into the line of athletes at first. But what he offered with his amazing performance is mental sport at the highest level. With his tricks, he surprised the audience and sent us into a break, where there was ample opportunity for networking.

After a nice apero, former FIFA boss Joseph “Sepp” Blatter took the stage. He gave an exciting and entertaining insight into some turning points in his career as a sports official. His decisions were well thought out and well founded, but his gut feeling also guided him on his path on playing a decisive and influential role in the development of football for decades.

The event ended with Dani Arnold, a professional alpinist and mountain guide who has accomplished incredible things. Time and again he takes on new challenges. In his case, many decisions he makes as an athlete are even about life and death. For only a wrong move or step can have devastating consequences. There is much more at stake than just winning or losing. His presentation, accompanied by many pictures and videos, contributed to the fact that as a spectator one almost had the feeling of having climbed alongside him. Absolutely thrilling!

The infinite diversity of sport

The sequence of fascinating presentations, each in a different way, has made it clear to me that the sport has a myriad of facets. The obvious thing, of course, are the countless sports that can be divided into various categories: Is a sport practiced in winter, summer, or all year round? Is it a team sport or an individual sport? Which sports equipment or aid is used – ball, racket, bike, or ski? Where does the sport take place – outdoors, in a sports hall, or in the water? What type of competition is a sport – is it a martial art, a race, or a match? Does it depend on time or points? Is it a strength or endurance sport? The listing of further categories could be endlessly continued.

Athletes themselves have a high degree of diversity. It does not matter which gender they belong to, how old they are, where they come from or whether they have any ailments. Some of the differences can hardly be greater, such as the ballerina and the heavyweight boxer as a striking example.

The necessary characteristics of athletes are also very diverse. While the one needs a lot of courage and strength to practice his sport, as for example Dani Arnold does when climbing, the other needs stamina, mental strength, or the ability to proceed strategically in his sport.

The intensity with which a sport is practiced also varies greatly. It ranges from occasional sports to ambitious leisure sports to high-performance professional sports. The motivation for sport is just as multi-layered. On the one hand, sport serves general fitness and/or fat burning. But also social contacts or optimizing work-life-balance are in the foreground for some athletes.

The way in which one is involved in sport also plays a role when considering the different facets. This diversity was particularly noticeable at the SPORT Forum Aargau. On the one hand one met athletes of all intensities and on the other hand sports officials, such as club directors, political functionaries, coaches, etc. In this respect, the SPORT Forum Aargau was an impressive example of lived diversity.

Sport makes you happy – and your mind helps!

Most athletes probably agree that sport makes them happy. But even fewer sporty people were given a tip at the SPORT Forum Aargau on how they can become happier. The mental magician Christoph Kuch showed the spectators a simple trick. It’s a mental sport designed to make it easier to develop the ability to feel happiness. Every evening you should make yourself aware  of five situations that have made you happy during the course of the day. They can also be very small, supposedly unimportant things, the main thing being that you felt lucky at that moment. Already after one week, you will be happier, so Kuch. All this with just a little mental sport.

For those who would also like to be part of this event: The next SPORT Forum Aargau will take place on 10 September 2020. I am looking forward to see what program IG Sport Aargau and its partners will set up next year.

The photos in this blog post were kindly provided by Fabio Baranzini / SPORT Forum Aargau.

Related links:
SPORT Forum Aargau
IG Sport Aargau
Aargauer Turnverband
David Mzee Facebook
Pascale Walker
Christoph Kuch
Sepp Blatter Foundation
Dani Arnold

 Written by Natalia Wannhoff