Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympics 2020

Okay, Andy Murray beat Roger Federrer for Olympic gold, the US Men's Basketball team demolished Nigeria by over 80 points. And John White resigned the Pro Squash Tour (PST) to play in a Pro Squash Association (PSA) event and the continued pathetic squash community's lament of why Squash isn't in these Olympics. Frankly, who cares? Do I want to see Ramy Ashour play Nick Matthew in the gold medal match when I can see them in a professional capacity 5-8 times a year? Does anyone really care that Niclas Massu won the Olympic gold for tennis in 2004 and 2008? Will anyone care all that much in four years about Murray winning in the Olympics except a few patriotic starved Brits (by the way Murray is Scottish and they are up for independence in 2013 so Murray's gold for the queen will matter even less). As I watched track and field and swimming events, these are the true and purest form of athleticism, they play not for Lebron size contracts and Murray's certain leveraged medal endorsements. Okay, Michael Phelps was pitching Subway and any other corporate product sponsors but the path that got him to to Beijing and now London was a path of exalted amateur athletics.

The distinction between professional and amateur was abolished in 1986 because the Soviet Union paid it's athletes and supported them much like corporations now do.By the way, the Soviet Union is dead and gone some 23 years ago. Soviet athletes were considered professional because they took money. And our athletes, hmmm, never seem to take money, from anyone. Well, since 1986 everyone now takes money from all the big bad corporations, the very same corporations that cheated investors, consumers and those pest environmentalists that hate when Exxon or BP decimate the environment for generations -- dare I mention Coca-Cola which studies have indicated are responsible a good part of obesity in the US.

The Olympics will mean something to me when Todd Harrity represents the United States squash team in the Olympics actually he is probably too old so Mason Ripka or Faraz Khan will have to do, not when professionals like Chris Gordon or Julian Illingsworth represent the U.S. which I'm sure they won't be in 2020 they'll be old men. Restore the integrity of the spirit of the Olympics, bring back the vision of purity of Jesse Owens, Bruce Jenner and Olga Corbet. I don't want to see Roger Federrer or Labron James in the Olympics because they happen to have mass appeal and stuff the advertising coffers of all the corporate sponsors.

For all those squash and Olympic proponents (sorry Mr. Thatcher), including the professional players themselves, show how squash transcends money and greed and corporate sponsorship, promote amateur athletics, promote participation in the Olympics, but at the amateur level, uphold the highest ideals of amateur athletics, somewhere in the United States, in India, in Pakistan, a young player with ideals as high as the sky, with purity of soul, uncorrupted, who embraces the pursuit of perfection in the true Rousseauian manner, refuting institutions as inherently corrupt. It is only the individual we should rest our hopes and dreams and gold upon, not the corporate sponsored icons of professional athletes.


Anonymous said...

interesting stuff.

ps pretty sure Nick's surname is spelt with two T's.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with you that it's uneccessary to have sports like squash and tennis in the olympics, I genuinely can't tell if you're being satirical about the amateur ideal or really buy it. Amateurism vs. professionalism was an English idea, and was always more about social class than some purity of ideals. I believe in the 19th century you could not compete in athletics if you were engaed in trade. P.G. Wodehouse's young cricket player Mike considers becoming a pro to support himself when his father loses money, but he can't take the shame of competing as a pro when his brother competes as an amateur. His brother is "employed" as an estate agent, one who theoretically runs a large holding for an aristocrat, but is in reality payed for his cricket.
Pro sports are a mess, and college sports are even more corrupt these days than they used to be, but let's not kid ourselves that there was some golden age when love of sport ruled all. "Amateurism" was much like college legacies- affirmative action for the entrenched powers.