Thursday, April 10, 2008

Separation of Sports and Politics

One of the events I most anticipate every four years is the Summer Olympic Games. I have watched them avidly since childhood, loving the variety of sporting events, as well as the spirit of the Olympic Games, all nations coming together to compete in a peaceful period of play, a time when the sports are more important to the spectator, than the ideological differences between nations. I don't always root for the American team, I seem to lend my support to the underdogs, and so through the years, I have found myself rooting for countries like Romania, or even Russia, because the talent of the athletes was so compelling. The first Olympics that I remember watching on TV were the Summer Games of 1972. I was glued to the old Zenith TV set for two weeks in August, when I should have been outside playing. What I most remember from the first Olympic Games in my memory, was a diver named Micki King , and the tragedy which is now known as The Munich Massacre. I was like ten years old, and had no idea what the difference was between Palestinians and Israelis, but I have never forgotten the gunmen in hoods, and the sporting event turned to nightmare.

My faith in the Olympic Games has been restored since that terrible time. In 2000, I had the great fortune to travel to Australia, where I worked as a chef in the Athlete's Village in Sydney. I thought at the time that my most vivid memories would come from sporting events and the athletic feats of the amazing participants. I was surprised upon returning to the US, to have met so many people, citizens of this great planet, from everywhere, China, Japan, New Zealand, France, Germany, East Timur. I saw Mohamed Ali and Nelson Mandela, like, up close, and in person! I watched my favorite US teams lose the finals in many events, but enjoyed the competition, and the sheer joy of those teams that won. I met people who I will cherish for the rest of my life, I have great memories of a time before 9-11, a time when the world was not divided between us and them, a time when the future was bright, and the world was almost at peace.

As the Games approach, there is much news of torches being extinguished, and tradition interrupted. The West accuses China of human rights violations, and China could just as well accuse the US. Some publications have suggested that the violence in Lhasa in March, was instigated by the CIA, and I gotta tell you, the reasoning makes sense. We cannot ignore the suffering of other humans, but isn't there a time for these grievances? The Olympics are meant to be held in the spirit of peace and friendly competition, we have two weeks out of 4 years to participate in a peaceful show of nations getting together to demonstrate dignity, peace,and good sportsmanship. We have plenty of time for war and sanctions against each other, and accusations of crimes. Let's give the world two weeks to play, with nothing in mind but good sports.

Let the Games begin.

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posted at 10:28:00 PM by Tankwoman

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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