Community Editorial Panel with Jerry Randall
I’m really looking forward to Feb. 23rd!
That date signifies the final day of Olympic competition, and in my estimation, that’s a date worth celebrating. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not totally against athletic competition. I actually enjoy watching some of it, and I marvel at the ability and endurance of some of the competitors. It’s beautiful to watch, but in the end, that is it’s only value, and from every other perspective, it offers nothing of lasting value to the family of mankind.
While it is true that many of the athletes who make their way to the Olympics make lasting friendships with other athletes from around the world, we rarely hear of any of them going on in life to make valuable and lasting contributions to any aspect of life in their own countries or to the world. The games exert no influence over political upheavals in those countries where citizens are dying in efforts to reform the governments of those countries, and while athletes can bring glory to their countries, it is a false kind of glory that has no lasting effect on anything.
It has been reported that the games in Russia cost that country some five hundred billion dollars, and that is an outrageous amount that does nothing but create a false rise in the economic blip of that country, and leaves them with nothing but a collection of fancy recreation facilities of questionable value to them over the long haul. If the cost of hosting the Olympics is now reaching that dollar value, there will be very few countries left that will be able to afford to pace bids for future games. And rightly so! There’s much better places to put the money!
When we look at the difference between the gold medal winners and the bronze, and placings downward from that, it is very evident that all these competitions measure is the result of that particular moment in time, and is really often just a matter of luck on the part of a competitor. At any given moment in time, the medal winners could, and do, change places, making the “win” or “loss” somewhat meaningless.
Some of the events, those that determine winners and losers through subjective judging, such as is seen in figure skating, should, in my humble opinion, be removed from the competition altogether. As beautiful as it is, this sport has been too open to the influence of bribery and corruption on the part of judges to be considered as a proper competitive event. Those athletes who choose figure skating as a sport should participate is beautifully staged ice shows solely for entertainment purposes. There is no value in the outcome of any competitive sport when the results depend on totally subjective judging. Figure skating is not the only sport that suffers from this problem. Competitive gymnastics and the equestrian sport of Dressage are two more that come to mind. All should be removed from any level of competition.
I find myself comparing the Olympics to the Oscars. Neither have any lasting value to our quality of life as a society. Those people who society holds in adulation because they have gained fame for breaking records or making movies or TV shows should know that such fame is fleeting and fickle. Holding those people up as fine examples of what we should all strive for in our lives is so ridiculous as to be almost beyond belief. They make little by way of contributions to our society except to provide a bit of fleeting entertainment. They live in a world that is far removed from the realities of life, much the same as the world inhabited by politicians, and as a society we should be holding those we place on pedestals to a much higher level. For instance, we should all be mortified at the way the Harper Government has chosen to disregard the very real concerns of our veterans. What they have chosen to do in closing the VA offices is nothing short of disrespectful and insulting to those men and women who have gone into theaters of battle on Canada’s behalf, only to come home battle scarred and damaged to face disrespect and indifference from a government whose only goal seems to be to avoid financial assistance to those veterans in efforts by them to balance the budget. Any government that does that deserves only our contempt, and our resolve to defeat them in them in the next election.
Well, that’s my rant for this month. Thank heavens for the Netflix series called House of Cards. My wife and I watched all 13 episodes of the newly-released second season, and, as political junkies, were totally entertained in the process. In a discussion about some of the characters in that program with my son, who has been close to the top seat of power in politics in this country, says he has been quite familiar with some real-life politicians who, except for committing murder, are just as dirty and nasty as the characters of that show.
God save us all!
Jerry Randall is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.