What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius

In plain English, that would be "Faster, Higher, Stronger" three well known words that form the Olympic motto. The Olympic creed is even more profound and deep. It goes as such "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." That is some pretty deep and meaningful stuff. The hallmark of the modern Olympic games has been the Olympic spirit. It is not easy to define but it embodies virtues such as sporting spirit, honor, integrity, honesty etc.

Unfortunately, sometimes the modern Olympics embody anything but that. "Drunker, stupider, hornier". Now those are three words that truly capture the modern Olympic spirit. From the beginning of the games and still going on Olympic athletes keep getting kicked out for outstanding accomplishments in being drunker, stupider, hornier. In the cases of some athletes we can add cockier to the mix.

First we have the racist tweets

Swiss footballer Michel Morganella called the South Koreans "bunch of Mongloids"

Greek Triple Jumper Voula Papachristiou said "So many Africans in Greece at least West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food"

Although even the finest Olympic athletes are no match for US fans who have to get the gold for racist, stupid and hopefully drunk tweets (because no sober person should be that dumb). The US gold always brings out the gold in our fans. When Gabby Douglas won the gymnastics individual all round gold - Twitter exploded with arguments on her hair. Now when US women's soccer team wins their third gold Twitter explodes with people congratulating the soccer girls for exacting revenge for Pearl Harbor. One American twitterer wrote "This is payback for USS Arizona, you Japs" (I hope their rage was not directed at Jewish American Princesses).

I'm a Hindu. Ever since the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya, I've been embarrassed that the members of my religion are a bunch of idiots who think modern Muslims are time travelers who fought for Babar when he destroyed a temple to built his mosque. Now I feel much better realizing that there are actually dozens of people out there who seriously believe the Japanese women's team bombed Pearl Harbor. The delicious irony is they trend #PearlHarbor and #Japs on August 9th - the anniversary of not the first but second atomic bomb we tossed into Nagasaki like a callous disposal of a candy wrapper. You would think two atomic bombs were enough for payback and our girls did not have to work so hard against time traveling Japanese bomber chicks.

Then we have all these Belgian athletes who get drunk. First cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke was sent back home for being being photographed appearing totally hammered. Then they had Fanny Leclusye also sent back home for crawling back into the village at 3:30 AM drunk as a skunk.

You also have St.Kitts and Nevis sprinter who got sent back home for disappearing three days for a really long conjugal visit with his wife. They should treat the Olympic village more like a prison system and organize chaperoned conjugal visits so that athletes don't go missing. Although if the games were about losing athletes then Cameroon gets gold, a whopping seven of them. They just lost seven athletes in London, almost the entire contingent.

Yet, the biggest and stupidest controversy has to be the disgraced badminton players who had to be kicked out for trying to throw a match. Any seasoned cheater knows that there are many finer ways of cheating. You take steroids, you take contraband substances, you stick something in your equipment, you master sneaky magician ninja cheat moves - all sorts of things - but two teams acting pathetic as they both desperately try to lose is the dumbest thing ever. They should consult a seasoned cricket player about match fixing. You fix the game so that one team wins and one team loses (someone has to lose in sports) but both teams get the necessary monetary rewards (business transactions are a win-win deal). Soccer players and NBA professionals could have offered ample advice on how to fake plays. Both sports require the highest level of acting chops.

Although, being an Indian my personal favorite has to be our gatecrasher Madhura. In a country of over a billion people, it just takes one. I just glanced her over. I think most people saw it as just and oddment of a person in red in a sea of mustard yellow Indians. But Indians are sharper than that and can catch a fly in a billion. They spotted her and immediately began to speculate who she was. A suicide bomber? A shy streaker? India may not have one Olympic gold, but in terms of Olympic memes Madhura really unearthed a gold medal mine with all the photoshops of her stopping by to say "hi".

Finally we have cockiness. Modesty, respect, humility, and sporting spirit take a backseat when it comes to the modern Olympics. When you are championship material like Usain Bolt, you can get away with a lot. Usain Bolt is undoubtedly one of the greatest Olympians ever. We are lucky to watch him and Michael Phelps accomplish their feats and set new world records for generations to come. It will be a long time before someone matches their magnificence. For all his decorations, Phelps still manages to remain a bit humble. But that is because Phelps is a shier introvert. The soccer team is not. They are a bunch of outgoing, outspoken girls who really had to speak up and break the conventions to become the athletes they are today. The road for a female athlete is not easy and you have to be over the edge to get somewhere. Unfortunately, that end up with them rubbing salt on wounds with their "Greatness has been found T-shirt".

And here is the final zinger, many people especially Americans seem to be alright with some of this behavior. What is wrong in expressing your opinion on Twitter? What gives if players want a good time after their performance? What is wrong in showing off how proud you are of you accomplishments? To be honest, I get this. I admire Hope Solo because she is a ballsy spirited fighter, a gorgeous woman who is a role model for young girls. Someone who tells teenage girls that playing the game does not make them less sexy or beautiful. I admire Usain Bolt too. I find his cockiness sexy. There is something charming about exuberant confidence, making claims and fulfilling them. I'm a proponent of freedom of speech too, and social media like twitter are the greatest tools free speech ever will have. It may not always be palatable, but thats free speech and we live with it. And there is nothing wrong with drinking or getting drunk. It is human nature to celebrate or wash away sorrows. After working so hard, athletes to deserve a break.

But all that is an individualistic perception of sports. A self centered, me my accomplishments, my glory, my opinions, my freedom, my happiness, my life, my choices kind of view. There is nothing wrong or immoral with it. Competitive sports will always have that attitude. Glory for the nation does come in, but the notion is my accomplishments will give my country glory. Unfortunately, all this does not fall in line with the Olympic spirit and creed. This is a collectivist culture. It is a cultural exchange between nations. It is about honor and dignity, the opportunity to do something meaningful and represent your homeland. A creed that you see shining in the eyes of smaller less fortunate nations as they walk in the parade of nations. They know they won't triumph, but they are here for the struggle and the journey. And when triumph takes precedence over the struggle and journey - you lose the Olympic spirit.

That lost spirit was shown in the ESPN article glorifying sex and partying in the Olympics. Only in the United States, the birth place of the Kardashians, Jersey shore and sex tapes will one of the most revered sporting events in the world be reduced to sex and partying. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with sex and partying at all. What the Olympians do in the Village is completely fine. Many spend half their time training and are out of touch with friends and family, it gets lonely, they are bound to look for companionship. They don't have time for long term commitments, they are still married to their sports so it becomes a matter of hookups and one night stands. Many are young, virile, kids who get their first taste of life away from family, they are bound to have fun. You also have to consider no one really gets athletes like another athletes. It is not surprising how much sex and partying takes place in the Olympics and how many condoms they go through.

What displays the desecration of the Olympic spirit is the utter disregard that the Olympic village is a melting pot of cultures. Sex before or outside of marriage is taboo for many cultures there. Some will give into temptation, but many will be abstinent dedicating their mind, body and soul to sport. Many athletes are committed family people who cannot think of betraying their spouses. Many athletes will maintain absolute focus, training hard trying desperately to get their country an elusive gold. You cannot respect the Olympic spirit if you cannot respect the diversity and culture of the entire Olympic village. You simply can't paint them all in one light. And truth be told - USA is the only country where athletes promote glorified sexual prowess. In most nations debauchery, being drunk in public, sex scandals, excessive partying are taboo and sports players are frequently censured or dropped from the teams for showing poor judgment. Most importantly, the sport is what is to be glorified, not what goes alongside it. If the sport is secondary to everything else - what is the point.

In my opinion as long as people like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James who play not for the game, but for the money and glory walk amidst the Olympians - the spirit of the Olympics will always be dwindling. I have scant respect for the egomaniac NBA stars. High school basketball is a more thrilling and honest sport. Thankfully, everything is not lost. The greatness of Olympics is not in the champions but in the underdogs. When it comes to the Olympics, the real hero is Eric Moussambani and not the guys who always come first. And every dog has its day. There is a whole army of unlikely and unsung heroes waiting to fulfill their Cinderella story. As long as they are there going faster, higher, stronger with their struggle - the Olympic remains triumphant.

No comments: