The proposal has been around since modern revival of the Games started in 1896 about team sports should be eliminated. The rational being is that it is tantamount to simulated war games. Is this the Olympic Ideal in extremis?
By: Vanessa Uy
The proposed idea of banning team sports from the Olympic Games has perennially manifested in and out of discussion whenever we reexamine if our current Games are “keeping the faith” of the original Olympic Ideal. Compared to the amateurism versus professionalism debates of the past, which inevitably resulted in the creation of the American “Dream Team” wrecking havoc in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic basketball competition, the rational behind banning team sports from the Olympic events is by no means just a mere political demagoguery and anti-war rhetoric. After all, the two World Wars of the previous century have resulted in the cancellation of the continuity of the Modern Olympiad three times, as opposed in ancient Greece where it was on going wars and conflicts – not the Olympic Games – that gets suspended. Plus the recent widespread global criticisms on the Beijing Government’s questionable Foreign Policy decision to sell arms and provide technical support to the incumbent Sudanese government that’s responsible for the on going conflict in Darfur is a case in point. War is indeed seen by all as the worst anathema to the Olympic Ideal.
But if both team spirit and cooperation an (supposed?) integral part of the Olympic Ideal; wouldn’t it be bunkum to criticize on this? After all Mikhail Bakunin – famed anarchist and student of the “Human Condition” – have cited that humanity is very cooperative and creative when it comes to destroying his or her fellow human beings. Not to mention that the Olympic Games might become a tad bit boring if soccer / European football and basketball were removed because these “interesting” sports are for all intents and purposes signify simulated war games.
Has our argument now devolving into some philosophical “crepuscular zone” reminiscent of the former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Potter Stewart’s inability to define obscenity? Will commercial sponsors now be fleeing in droves because the Olympic Games had become boring and people lost interest in it because the probably two main crowd-drawers of the Olympics - namely European football / soccer and basketball are banned just because they "vaguely" resemble simulated war games to the powers-that-be. Thus creating a situation that compromises the Games’ ability to “pay its way”?
The good news is that team sports will still be an integral part of the Olympic Games for the foreseeable future – maybe for thousands of years hence. So for now, those in favor of banning team sports from the Olympic Games may just as well sit back, relax, and enjoy the Games. After all, many of us are still busy formulating “politically correct” ways to show our disdain against the Beijing Government’s stance on Tibet (or is “unlawful annexation of a sovereign territory” even defined as war anymore), His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Darfur without burdening the ordinary working class Chinese. I’m welcome to any suggestions.