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You remember games. Tag, Hide and Seek, Stickball- things like that. A bunch of kids get together and agree on some loose rules and proceed to have fun. Fun - there's another thing you may remember. Playing for the sake of playing, not for the sake of winning. Games were fun, played for fun and won or lost as a matter of course. Not any more.

Games, along with the society, have changed. These days, games are organized from kindergarten up with vast armies of adults spending hours figuring out how the kids should play the games, be protected from accidents and, above all, be able to tell the winners from the losers. The winners are the ones who are the bigger, stronger and more able players and the losers are the rest. Sure, everybody is supposed to get a chance to play, but when push comes to shove, we all want the best slugger to bat clean-up, right?

I suppose it's always been this way. As a permanent resident of right field, I was never the star of the show and I knew in my heart that this was the way it was supposed to be. There's seldom much room for the loser. Today, there's no room at all.

I was thinking this as I watched the ultimate group of winners play the Olympic game. Yes, it's called the Games, but it's not the games I recall as a kid. I watched the women's swim team and was reminded of the front four of the Green Bay Packers. Perfect products of years of training and thousands of dollars competing for the glory of Good Old Whatever. Remember that the Olympics were originally about people, not nations. It was George beating Otto, not Great Britain beating Germany. This changed a lot when Jesse Owens gave Hitler a black eye in the 1938 Olympics. Jesse represented truth and democracy as opposed to brutal dictatorship - even though when he got home, Jesse couldn't eat in the same restaurants as his white team mates.

Today, the networks thrive on the heartbreak of the losers more than the joy of the winners. Idiotic commentators ask idiotic questions, like "How did you feel when you took that fall on the pommel horse?" or "Did you think you let your team down after that last dive?" Tears of joy are OK, though, as long as they don't prevent the winner from thanking either God or the coach or the parents for winning. It's OK to not build it yourself when it comes to gold medals.

Cut to a commercial. And another. And another. Five minutes of mindless crap as the price of a ticket to what's supposed to be a series of games. Games or just another Big Business, like pro football or pro baseball or pro anything? How much does it cost to play?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, native

    If the government is for sale, why not blame the buyers?

    by boguseconomist on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 11:03:59 AM PDT

  •  Here's 100% agreement (0+ / 0-)

    from one right fielder to another. I was also pretty good at striking out, but I sure had a lot of fun at it.

    Way back in the mountains of New Mexico not far from here, on the first Sunday in June every year, they've been playing a softball game since the early 70's. It's the Hippies vs the Indians, those being the two main cultural groups who live in the area.

    It's a festive event, with families camping out all weekend, live music, picnics, and so on. Nobody really cares who wins the game, but there's plenty of cheering and laughter every time somebody makes a good play. Or a bad one, for that matter!

    The last one I went to, the Indians won it 26 to 16. It was a route, mainly because the Hippies couldn't field a good pitcher - they went through four relievers before finally settling for a guy who was 72 years old, but who could at least find the plate. And who, by the way, scored a run by sliding into home plate. There was an anxious moment or two while everyone waited to see if he would stand up again, but he did, and went on to pitch a final scoreless inning.

    Now that's my idea of a real game. I can easily do without the Olympics.

    "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

    by native on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 02:04:25 PM PDT

    •  This warms.... (0+ / 0-)

      ...the cockles of my heart. Personally, I'm rooting for the 72 year-old to continue on indefinitely - we need more of him.

      If the government is for sale, why not blame the buyers?

      by boguseconomist on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:42:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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