Friday, 3 August 2012

Sport as culture

Yesterday I went to the first of the two Olympic events that I got tickets for (over a year ago back in the days when I still had money). And a great day I had too - from the sport itself to a totally painless experience of getting to the venue and passing through the much discussed security.

Recently I have spoken about going to the Olympics to a few of my 'right-on' friends who seem to think that doing so was some sort of petit-bourgeois deviationism. 

What sanctimonious bollocks. There is a peculiar trend in certain parts of the Left that regards sport as at best a kind of modern day opiate of the people, and at worst  an inherently reactionary celebration of competition. And of course they  throw in the obvious (and undeniable) points about the corporate manipulation of sport as profit.

It's a philistine attitude that they wouldn't dare make about any other aspect of art and culture. Because that's exactly how sport should be considered -  as a physical expression of human culture. As it was at the original Olympics - and in modern times too until 1952 - when medals were given for sculpture and so on just as they were for athletics.

Nobody living in London who has their head screwed on needs to be lectured on the highly dubious 'legacy' that the Olympics will leave behind in the capital's most impoverished boroughs. And we can hardly help but notice the branding onslaught that big business have taken the opportunity of the games to unleash.

But the answer to all this can be found in simply watching the reaction of South African gold-medalist Chad  Le Clos's father being interviewed. His reaction shows why sport can express everything that is great about being human.

As Ray says - let's now just sit back and enjoy the games - we can argue about them later.

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