Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympics - why it's important to keep jumping through the hoops


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.

Crushed flower
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.

"Can do"attitude
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.

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