Well the Olympics TV show is over at last. I am compelled to admit that it seems to have gone much better than I thought – not a shambles as far as I can see from way up here in the Midlands. I watched hardly any of it, but from what little I saw, the thing went smoothly. In spite of my distaste for the Olympics, I’m pleased it wasn’t a mess and there were no major incidents.
But now we have predictable responses from David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and Ed Miliband demanding more compulsory sport in schools. Why kids should be encouraged to emulate sporting TV stars in the midst of our medals for all culture I've no idea. I suppose a bandwagon is a bandwagon – it doesn’t have to make sense.
What the Olympics has to do with sport, sporting values, healthy living or real life, I’m not quite sure either. It’s only a TV show after all. An expensive and somewhat political TV show to be sure, but that’s all it is. Not something to emulate surely?
Sport is better played than watched on TV. It’s more enjoyable for one thing, but I’m not sure that’s the idea behind those calls for more sport in schools. Nurturing the sporting elite seems to be nearer the mark. Find the stars of the future and dump the rest because their job is to watch and applaud.
To give myself some exposure to this two-faced charade, I watched the climax of the men’s diving.
Hmm – a strange activity in my view.
Dull and repetitive, it’s not even swimming and swimming isn’t exactly edge of the seat stuff. Not only that, but the outcome depends not on a stopwatch, but the opinion of judges. Even so, it’s surely interesting that someone should devote a fair chunk of their life to honing their diving skills to the nth degree in this way.
I’ve no idea who won, but the UK chap won bronze, presumably having made some tiny slips in technique compared to the two chaps who beat him. Presumably he's thrilled to have made fewer tiny slips in technique than lots of other chaps.
Sport is about taking part, except that TV shows such as the Olympics have corrupted the idea of taking part. Taking part has morphed into another and quite different role, taking the part of an audience, a cheering backdrop for the stars. Are schools going to teach that?