Essays About


Watching Olympic swimmers paddling through the water with gangly legs and arms, heaving their heads up for air, unequipped with fins or gills, I question the pride of the champions. Goldfish in an aquarium move more gracefully. Is not a contest of humans swimming like a contest of fish running? If animals competed in the Olympics, few humans would win medals. An elephant or rhinoceros would hurl our strongest wrestlers from the mat like plastic dolls. Our fastest sprinters would lose the 50-meter dash to their cats. Schools of sardines would dominate synchronized swimming.

Feats of intellect should be accorded more honor than feats of athleticism. To be an Einstein is to comprehend more of physics than any other mind in the known universe. But to win a gold medal in the Olympics is merely to stand atop one's narrow class of competitors, human beings, who share the same evolutionary handicaps. The Olympics are really the Special Olympics.

I always laugh at football games to see the cheerleaders, ostensibly the team's official and most fervent fans, standing with their backs to the field the entire game. One would suppose that cheering for a game presupposes an awareness of the game, as evidenced by looking in its direction. But each group in the stadium has an assigned role to play. You have the announcers distributing information, the concessionaires distributing peanuts, and the security guards standing sternly amid the frivolity. You have the marching band, which borrows the field at half time to show off its talent of walking while blowing horns. You have the mascot, sweating in a bear suit. You have the players who train year-round to run an oblong ball into a colored rectangle more times than their opponents. You have the coaches, trainers, and water boys who act as the supporting paraphernalia of the players. You have the referees who are the governmental body, ruling with flags and whistles. You have the red-faced fans in constant mutiny against any rulings of these governors, however just, which hinder the home team—that is, which hinder the local players whom the fans no more know than the visiting players, but who wear the color of jersey symbolizing "us". And finally you have the cheerleaders gesturing at the fans who are quite oblivious of them, being intent on the game. Sports are a delightful absurdity.