JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CELEBRATING ONLY THE EXCEPTIONAL IN SPORTS? WHERE THAT ATTITUDE TAKES US   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY RORY GILFILLAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAILRory Gilfillan’s words are quite unpleasant and more than a little confused.

First, if you take his basic principle of only celebrating the outstanding, it seems to me that you must logically extend it to all areas of activity.

In schools, in the arts, and in the sciences. And that necessarily implies authorities picking and choosing who should pursue what. In the U.S. they do this with floods of money and privilege, and in China they do this with state authority.

That general attitude results in America, a true social Darwinist society.

Second, while everyone likes being astonished by the fabulously gifted, there are many small pleasures in enjoying the efforts of the less gifted.

Third, I just do not regard sports in general as all that important. For those that do enjoy them, fine, but for society to use many precious resources only to groom and praise those with talented bodies gives you the sense of contemporary China towards sports, a sense not completely different to that which prevailed under the Third Reich.

Yes, it is nice to see gold medals, but really when the Olympics or any other big event is over, two weeks later the beer-fed emotion is forgotten and a hell of a lot of money has been spent on very little of substance. It still all reduces to a modern version of Rome’s “bread and circuses.”

People like Mr. Gilfillan would have us believe there is more to it, but truly there isn’t.

Perhaps almost better the many celebrations of small victories than the big blow-out for a few physically talented people.

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