The more I learn about ancient Greek culture the more I am astonished by it. I can get lost in the architecture, sculptures, battles, politics, and mythology, but it is their language that continues to captivate me. One of the coolest aspects of the ancient Greek language is how expressive it is and I think the Greek words for love show this perfectly.
You did read that last sentence correctly. I said “words” not “word” for love. The Greeks have four words that describe various types of love which I think is a much better way of conveying certain feelings than our singular “I love you” or “I love lacrosse.” So lets dig into what each of these words mean and how we can connect them to the world of lacrosse.
Eros is one word for love that English speakers are unfortunately the most familiar with. This is love based on the physical aspects and the needs of the body. In fact the Greek god of love was named Eros who eventually turned into Cupid as the Romans rose to power. This type of love would be considered the basest type that fulfills the basests needs of our primal selves. So an eros love of lacrosse is to say, “I need lacrosse because it feels good to me.”
Storge means love in terms of a family bond. Fathers and mothers to their children, uncles and aunts to their nephews and nieces, and so on. The phrase “blood is thicker than water” best describes the power this type of love has. We all know how strong the bond of common blood is in our own families but lacrosse allows for that bond to extend beyond our own. Everyone witnessed different families coming together to help the Goss family during the terrible ordeal that Ben went through and continues to go through. I am still stunned when I think about how much help was offered when the word was put out that a lacrosse player needed help. This is the storge love that those in the lacrosse community share with one another.
Philia is brotherly love, which is why Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. This is the love and affection between friends and teammates. There are guys I played with in high school that I would do anything for if they called me for help and I know they would do the same for me. Players will find lasting friendships with true meaning on the lacrosse field because they will win together and lose together, but above all they will play together. Philia in lacrosse is the bond that exists between all players of all ages both on and off the field.
Agape is the highest and most difficult form of love for people to have because it is unconditional love. This is not a word that is thrown around lightly. It is a word with meaning and depth that carries a heavy weight because it entails complete sacrifice of yourself to another person. This word means that you love someone no matter what that person does or what condition you are in. On the lacrosse field agape love is for two things: the love of your team and the love of the integrity of the game. You play your heart out and leave nothing behind on the field for your team, and you also play to honor and respect the history of the game and the players than came before you. When you play this game with agape in your heart it will stay with you forever.
There is one final word that does not specifically mean love. It means doing something with your entire heart, your entire soul, your entire being. It means you place everything that you are into the goal of becoming better at whatever it is you are doing. If the four words above are adjectives then this word is the verb that makes all of them possible. Meraki means to “put ‘something of yourself’” into what you are doing. Without meraki you cannot have eros, storge, philia, or agape. If you are truly going to love a person they must know your secrets and you must know theirs. If you are truly going to love lacrosse you must earn it by respecting it at all times and putting forth the effort that the game deserves. Approach the people in your life and this game with meraki and you will find that love returned to you a hundredfold.
Featured Image Credit – www.ft.com