The Stanford Daily
Thursday August 21, 2008
Stu's Views: It's not about the medals - Three points on the Olympics
August 21, 2008
By Stuart Baimel
....Despite my enjoyment of the Olympics, the intensity of the coverage in the American media has been exhausting and I will be glad when it is all over. Not only is it detracting from the presidential election, but it's also detracting from preseason coverage of college football, which is surely the most important annual event in sports.-
My parents are sport fanatics! My Grandfather, on my mother side, with my Great-Uncle were the first to be named "Walter Camp's All-American"in football on the West Coast in America. So from the age of five, I was in competive sports until I became a missionary in April,1972. During my teen-age years, my life was in turmoil! The only escape for me, I thought was sports. So I practiced and practiced basketball until I received few athletic scholarships included West Point but I decided to attend the University of California at Berkeley, in 1970.
The Vietnam War was going on, and Berkeley was the hot-bed of radical resistance. It also was one of the top academic schools in the United States. So for me, it was quite a change coming from very staid background. During that time, I began taking drugs and reading from mystical books,but they never satisfied my soul I was on the honor roll and was voted first-team all-Northern California freshman in basketball, Captain and Most Valuable Player in 1971 and still hold the freshmen rebound record of 17.3 per game but still my life was empty without the Lord! I felt pressures on many sides to really put out all my time and energy towards becoming a basketball star in college and pressing toward a professional career. On the other hand, deep within my heart.
I felt that there was something wrong with all this!I felt caught between two worlds,one with the teachings of Jesus and His commandment to love thy neighbor,while in the other world, I was told to gain a near-manical desire to win and to physically punish my opponent in a defeat!
Sports really foster the spirit of competition. It's the spirit of the world‚ the "me first" spirit--do what's best for yourself, win no matter who you have to hurt or step on in order to get ahead of the next guy. That's the spirit of the world, which is just the opposite of what Jesus wants to teach people--to love your neighbor as yourself.
Of course, some form of sports is fine. It's good exercise and can be good fun. But things in the world are so different, and when athletes get to the professional level where they're being paid to win, it gets extremely competitive. It becomes almost a life-and-death spirit. For example, the soccer players in the World Cup practically ran themselves to exhaustion, suffered injuries and bruises, and still kept playing, because they wanted to win no matter what it cost them physically.
It's a spiritual thing. It's the spirit of competition and pride, proving you're better than the other guy. They do it by sheer brawn, by their own strength, which really feeds their pride. It's their idea of success. Winning means success in the world, so to win is a very big motivator. It just seems to be sort of an instinct with men especially to want to compete and to win. When they watch the World Cup or other sports events, it's almost like an extension of those human desires to compete and win. That's why some people get so into it, because they can relate to that drive to compete. The physical exertion, and then finally the goal, is exhilarating for some people.
But the world just loves it! See how this competitive sports thing has been the final stages of every great civilization and empire. What young men does the media glorify and glamorize the most? Is it the athletes? No, they're about second. Is it the scholars? No they're probably about third. But the ones it builds memorials for and commemorates on special days and glamorizes as the greatest heroes of all time are its most murderous war-mongering soldiers.
Ted Rudow III,MA