Friday, February 21, 2014

There are Games and There are Games

From Bangkok Patana School Site
Interestingly enough, even a casual witness to world sports sees a certain amount of unbridled enthusiasm for the aggressive behavior that comes with fierce competition.  Unfortunately, things get more than a little crazy in some venues when fans take a game's frustrations to the streets.  In some places overseas, soccer fans from one city can only get tickets to view their team in another when they sign on to take a bus that gets them right to the gate at game time and delivers them back to their own town immediately thereafter to avoid any flammable mixing of competitive partisans. Steps are taken here in the states as well to reduce the violent behavior of fans.

Yet on a positive note, it seems plausible to say that fierce competition between teams from different countries played on the fields can provide an outlet for a natural kind of aggression that seems to stir in many a soul.   We worry of course about broken limbs, cuts, scrapes, and the more substantial injury occasionally caused on the playing fields, but  I can't help but wonder if the athletic games we play today are not in some small way a more healthy substitute for more violent games of war we waged in past.  The beauty of a victory over one's political nemesis in soccer or hockey certainly offers some respite to those who might otherwise feel a certain inferiority that may be pent up.  By the same token, the sting of a big loss, while it might be felt viscerally, can be alleviated by play the next season--or in the context of the Olympics, the next contest four years hence. 

I suppose it's easy enough to fall into simplistic theories about how sports can replace wars, but countries and teams that keep their eyes on contests as opposed to conflicts are certainly bound to save valuable resources and personnel.  Logically, there must be at least some sublimation of violence that comes from sports.  Let's hope so. 

As the Olympics come to a close, let's hope that world leaders decide to do their best to keep games on the playing fields and not the battle fields. A mighty good show on the field of play can give a country a big international boost of pride that a thousand deaths on the battle fields cannot provide in today's world.  And after our athletes battle it out in the Olympic games, they can come home and remind us that those on the other side of the field are very much like us.

Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press

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