I’m not a big sports fan. Notice I use the word sports, not sport. Sports is the American term. Sport is the European equivalent. I realize it’s the politically correct thing to emulate the Europeans, but frankly I see no reason for it. They wouldn’t be living so high on the hog if it weren’t for the USA saving their bacon in WWII, and freeing up their economies from the burden of military defense. Even so, Europe’s love affair with socialism has produced an economic and moral edifice that is in a state of decay — the ruins of a once-great Western Civilization.
No, I don’t generally care for sports. I was one of those kids who was always picked last when my P.E. class had to choose teams. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy physical activity. I simply wasn’t as fast or as strong or as accurate as my contemporaries. When it came to any activity involving throwing, catching, bouncing, hitting or kicking a ball, I consistently lacked the skills to be competitive. Because of this failing, I was shunned by my fellows. Not being one to be outdone, I also shunned them, developing a contempt for the hero-worship mentality of sports enthusiasts.
Even mediocre athletes fantasize winning the race, scoring the winning point, saving the game. And because of this fantasy, they worship their idols, the champions. They read all they can about them. They memorize copious amounts of statistics about them. They study them and aspire to be like them. When they watch their champions compete, they project themselves into the competition and experience their own vicarious victories and defeats — just by watching them. On the one hand, they are only observing the activities of others. On the other hand, they feel personally “involved”.
I’ve never gotten my head around that. As someone who has been a performer, I can appreciate a very talented singer or actor. In fact, I really do appreciate anyone in any field of endeavor who displays excellence. But I’m not a fanatic (fan for short) about it. I don’t put them on a pedestal, wishing I were like them. I don’t study them, don’t model my life after them. I just appreciate seeing a good performance. I wouldn’t watch the Academy Awards if you paid me. There simply is so much focus on political correctness that a good performance often takes a back seat to the message du jour. In fact awards now are commonly handed out regardless of the performance quality, as long as the message is spot on.
Although there is no denying that olympic athletes are among the best up-and-comers in the world, their performances are overshadowed by the pomp and circumstance that glorifies an almost religious attitude toward global unity through athletic competition. The olympic games take athletic competition and elevate it to the apex of human endeavor, making the medal winners heroes, not only for sports enthusiasts, but for everyone in the nations they represent. Nationalism is reduced to the level of a high schooler cheering for the home team. Lost are the history and institutions that define peoples, nations and cultures. Lost are the moral and civil underpinnings that give meaning to our social structures. Lost are the myriad achievements which create heritage, identity and pride.
Well, perhaps not completely. Each Olympiad presents an opening ceremony, which over the years has developed into a larger-than-life pageant, designed to embody the host country’s best qualities — or at least those qualities they want to show off. These pageants evolved from the sort of format used in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show into something like football half-time shows on steroids, with increased use of special effects and over-the-top theatrical technology. They are designed to be big, thrilling, magical and inspiring. But at some point, increasing the numbers of performers in these mega-pageants stops adding to the “bigness” of the event and begins to make things seem a bit chaotic, and even silly. This fact goes utterly unnoticed by fans who are completely intoxicated with the overwhelming sights and sounds of the pageant. After all, this is the Olympics!
This time around it was London’s turn to put on the show. Oh my! I will say that I enjoyed the humor of the Queen, escorted by 007, sky diving into the ceremonies, and Rowan Atkinson’s “musical” performance. But featured in the pageant was the agrarian culture changing into the industrial era without any understanding of what precipitated that change. Quoting Danny Boyle, the announcer said the British people were the engine that drove the industrial revolution. This is the opinion of communists who simply ignore how the industrial revolution came about. Britain, a small island nation had become the world’s greatest economic power. How did they do that?
It was through commerce — trading and manufacturing which grew exponentially as Britain’s power and influence spread. This could not have happened without the strongest naval fleet in the world, maintaining control of international ports and ocean trade routes. Remember, “Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!” It was the British military and their victory in war that created the wealth that resulted in the industrial revolution. And they spread their wealth. Kenneth Branagh’s costume (along with others representing the industrial age) included a beaver hat, popular for three centuries into the mid 1800s. American fur traders sold to the British market, and fur trapping spurred the early western exploration of North America.
The British people didn’t make anything happen. They just happened to be lucky to get jobs because their industrialists and bankers could afford to hire them. Business was good. The people didn’t cause that. They were merely beneficiaries of the wealth of their nation. That wealth largely came as a result of imperial colonization, something communists love to decry. Communism spreads the lie that the workers are responsible for great national achievements with no thought as to how they were given the opportunity to achieve.
Also, high on their list of accomplishments that make them proud is socialized medicine. Really? Only the most dyed-in-the-wool socialist could be proud of their system. The fact that this aspect of British life was celebrated in their opening pageant demonstrates how politically driven these shows are. Had they wanted to truly reflect historical or social significance in their presentation, they might have shown something about the Magna Carta. What greater contribution to humanity could Britain boast of than the Magna Carta? This single document was responsible for establishing limits to the rights of kings and setting down the legal foundation for the rights of men. But if the Magna Carta was referred to, I missed it. Apparently to the planners of the opening ceremonies for this Olympiad, the rights of men aren’t nearly as important as their working in factories.
The impression created by the opening ceremony in London reminded me of soviet-era murals heroically portraying men working in the factories and fields as if they were super-human heroes — the communist ideal of workers who give total devotion to the State. This is how olympic athletes are portrayed. It’s unrealistic, de-humanizing and I won’t fall for it. But some do — even athletes themselves who turn to performance enhancing drugs in a frenetic attempt to reach their ideal.
Because I generally am not a sports fan, I am not swept up in the moment of olympic pomp and circumstance. I can see what others choose not to see, out of their enthusiasm for athletic competition. What I see is a world being trained to think of themselves in a mechanistic way which fosters a sense of personal involvement through fantasy. People are being trained to ignore those in power and ignore what freedoms you have, or how you got them. Just let them do their thing while you distract yourself in your fantasy. And everyone else in the world will do the same. We’ll all be happy — one, big, global, socialist community who can get together and “share”. (Cue the music. Bring up the volume.)
Then, when the olympic games are over, your feeling of excitement slowly fades. The next day you return to that wonderful job, and after work you go home to your wonderful family in your wonderful house. You eat a wonderful dinner and go to bed feeling wonderfully calm because all your bills are paid and you’re out of debt. And in your nation, you have the most wonderful people in the government looking out for you, so you don’t mind all the taxes you have to pay. Life couldn’t be any better. The only problem is having to wait four years for the next Olympiad. Oh well, at least there’s the winter olympics.