I’m watching the Olympics on TV and marveling at the physical
feats on display. There are some mean spirited people who say that the
Olympics will add to the UK budget deficit and we may be facing austerity
measures a few years down the line.
Austerity will always be with us – with or
without the Olympics – as long as greed and corruption are alive and well. I’ve
seen no evidence that either of those two playmates have changed their ways.
If money was not spent building Olympic parks, athletes’
villages, swimming pools, gymnasiums and velodromes – how would the money have
been spent? It wouldn’t have been spent of welfare, hospitals or schools I can
tell you that!
The problem with spending money for governments, businesses,
institutions and ordinary folk is that we don’t really know what’s best. As a
benchmark we can say that whatever furthers the progress of humanity through
endeavour is worthwhile.
|A hero for all seasons|
Spending money on medical research serves to eradicate
disease and suffering. Spending money on infrastructure makes our life journeys
all the more easier then if we are constantly falling into potholes that never
get repaired. Spending money on learning is never wasted though we mustn’t lose
sight of the greatest learning and that’s by making mistakes. Spending money on
welfare alleviates the need for people to endure miserable conditions in order
to make a living.
As I write these words, I know I’m lucky that I live in a
country that can host the Olympics on a grand scale whilst not having its
people at starvation level.
If human endeavour is worth championing then why not our sportsmen
and women? Are they to only compete at other venues and events but not showcase
their talents in the Greek tradition of the Olympics? Does the budget deficit
come before upholding history?
|Bathing in glory|
Many people, descended from the Philistines, might agree. The
pragmatists among us, care nothing for history and their lives are a little
less richer. Though they may live in a fine mansion surrounded by opulent
furnishings, a 72 inch plasma, hot-tub and manicured lawns their spirits are
poor, in my opinion.
Whilst material acquisitions are important, they are not
as important as enriching the mind. History provides countless examples of
wealthy individuals who have not found lasting happiness or peace of mind.
As I write, on this day fifty years ago, the great Hollywood
icon, Marilyn Monroe, was found dead in her apartment. Though she rose to great
fame she was plagued by inner (and some outer) demons that rarely provided
peace of mind. Her life was a tragedy from the point of view that, whilst her
body enjoyed the benefits of fame and fortune, her innocent spirit was destroyed by it. "Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss
and fifty cents for your soul."
By contrast, sporting heroes who have reached the top through
giving their all and proving their mental endurance are not burnt out. Their
bodies and minds are constantly striving
for higher physical and mental achievement.
|I can bounce back|
They inspire the future generation
and battle through their injuries, insecurities and defeats. It’s rare for them
to just give up and, if they face life-threatening illness, they are triumphant
in life or death.
Hollywood produces tragic-heroes. They achieve stardom
through acting as if they’re heroes. In real life, they’re candles in the wind.
Their fragile egos cling to the adulation of the masses and the next film studio
to cut them a deal.
Olympic champions have an indomitable and gracious spirit.
The arduous training and support from the fans contributes to the feel-good
factor for all. Even if they cave in one day, the next day, they pick
themselves up and start again. If only Marilyn had had the strength of mind to
do the same.
|A champion of life|
Government and businesses must continue to promote sport – to
all levels and ages. Barriers are broken down and unification occurs as we
compete or spectate. Let’s keep jumping through our personal hoops, conquering
our fears and moving closer to our aspirations.
Let’s support our Olympic
hopefuls and keep on chasing the Olympic-sized dream. Our national pocket may
be somewhat depleted but our hearts feel a little richer for it.