Thursday 26 July 2007

Sports Nightmare

I had a bad dream last night. Barry Bonds was trying to club cyclists Michael Rasmussen and Alexandre Vinokourov with a corked bat. Michael Vick was siccing a pack of angry dogs on them as disgraced NBA ref Tim Donaghy simultaneously bet on the action while claiming he was the best choice to officiate the entire farce.

Legions of disgraced, broad-shouldered, bearded female, former Olympian freaks from Eastern Europe cheered on the action. Similarly shamed Chinese swimmers and gymnasts and inhuman American track and field specimens joined in the nasty free-for-all. Gun-toting, sneering, tough-talking NBA and NFL criminal filth started swinging with abandon and firing shots into the air while the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago White Sox spat tobacco juice on them from above.

I don’t buy the narrative that all sports are crooked and it’s gone beyond the tipping point.

It’s part of the game, the drama that mixes in with the wins and losses. Rooting out the cheats, filth and crooks is part of the fun. Some will be forever disgraced, some will gain redemption while others will occupy that surreal anti-hero position as they carry on relatively unscathed in their bid to achieve all-time status in their chosen sport.

For many of them, the insane wealth on offer and the thrill of trying to pull off their scam without getting caught is half the fun. Recognition is what all humans are after to some degree and that desire in professional athletes is ramped up times a thousand. Desire and ambition on steroids.

Many of them will pay with an early death as their drug-bloated hearts explode prematurely. Others may come to the realization that the millions of tokens they accumulated, and which they couldn’t spend in a dozen lifetimes, won’t make up for the other things they sacrificed such as pride, honour, trust and dignity. All those things that are so easy to shrug off early in life but have a habit of coming into sharper focus as the years remaining start to diminish.

Let the games continue, and with them the ongoing attempts to lance the cancerous filth from the insane spectacle of competitive and professional sports.

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