Saturday, August 18, 2012

Post #317 - After the Games are over

Well, the dust has settled from that frenetic, delightfully loony Closing Ceremonies in London (never thought I'd ever be missing the Spice Girls, but I do now).  And, the medal counts are complete and entered into the Olympic rolls.  We know that the world's giants (United States, China and Russia) cleaned up big-time, and Great Britain did remarkably well for a smallish country ~ good on them!

Iran ended in 18th place, with a dozen medals having been won by the athletes who competed under its flag.  This was a match for (even slightly better than, if you dig down into the stats) Jamaica, whose runners received such massive media attention.  The numbers place Iran number three in Asia (behind China and South Korea), and ahead of all the Scandinavian countries.  They eclipsed giant India and Olympic progenitor Greece (where they have not been able to concentrate on sports of late).  Iran earned twelve times the glory of its regional rival Saudi Arabia (handicapped partly because of its reticence when it comes to feminine participation).

Iran's neighbors Iraq and Pakistan did not medal in these games, while Afghanistan took home a single prize (a bronze).  Iranians won more than the Turks, Tajiks, Kuwaitees, Uzbeks and Armenians combined.

What does this all mean?  I haven't the faintest idea.  But talking about who beats the pants off of whom in athletic contests is so infinitely more palatable than contemplating who might destroy more infrastructure or inflict more death and mayhem on another people that I wanted to take a few minutes to ponder it, even if it doesn't matter to anyone at all.  After a pin at a wrestling match, everyone gets up and lives to fight another day; they may even go away friends.  After a war, even the victors are never the same again.

God save us from our competitive instincts.  Blended with fear, they are a devil's brew -- "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from us."

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