Its no secret that I am far less than keen on any sort of sport, I can see its sociological value as a surrogate for war and for its participants it provides a way to channel their inner warrior but in this age of the professional athlete it also has a tendency to suck up some young people into the maelstrom of fame and unbridled adulation entirely bereft of very much humility and on top of that many of the particular sports are incredibly wearing on young bodies never really designed to be so focused on the choreography of “scientific” training. Thus in some sports an athlete is burned out by the time they are truly adults. Add to this the seductive song of fickle adulation and you have a heady brew that would be despised as much as tobacco products were it not for the fact that the gurus of the sports industry want very much to foster the notion that sport is good for you and a harbinger of good health.
Which brings me to Ian Thorpe, now in rehab with depression:
The thing about swimming is that it would have to be one of the most mind numbingly boring sporting pursuits out there, spending hours after hour watching the black line on the pool floor would be enough to do anyone’s head in. I suspect though that its more about a lack of direction in and very high expectations upon the shoulders of this young man that may have precipitated his troubles.
So in the end I just have to put the obvious question. Can “sport” really be that good for anyone if it takes fine young men and women wastes their youth on essentially useless activities, like swimming up and down a concrete puddle, imbues them with the hubris and adulation of being “champions” and then spits them on the scrapheap with no ability to do something else in their lives by the time they are thirty…
What does being a sporting hero really mean Comrades?