February 2014

BBC Sport are currently running a 'Get Inspired' campaign, inspiring the public to try new sports and activities. This month, Bill Sykes reflects on the word 'inspiration'.


First, a true story. An American, who came to do a BA at Univ returned three years after going down, on holiday. He popped in to see me, and said: “I have reached the conclusion that Oxford is a very spiritual place”. I queried this, and he replied “I don’t mean the current generation of undergraduates, graduate students and Fellows. I mean “The Spirit is in the walls.”


“Inspiration – drawing in of breath, divine influence, sudden happy idea, inspiring principle.The Concise Oxford Dictionary


“Spirit gives meaning to a person’s life, and the possibility of the greatest development” C.G. Jung


“An inspiration – a long deep breath of pure air of thought – could alone give health to the heart” Richard Jefferies


“My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and the most absolute freedom, imaginable” Chekhov


“What sacred instinct did inspire my soul in childhood with a hope so strong?” Thomas Traherne


“The inspiration of the Almighty alone gives understanding.” George MacDonald


“A continual, immediate divine inspiration within us.” William Law


“God should be in the Christian’s soul, in his living consciousness, vital, active, fiery. He should inspire him and fill him with admiration.” Henry Ward Beecher


“For you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.” I Thessalonians 1.6


“Grace only visits them in moments of inspiration, and then it is of noble character, enhanced as it is by the ever present gift of strength.” S. de Magariaga