(WordPress has really been testing me today. First, after I added my usual sign-off, everything else I wrote appeared in that reusable block, making it impossible to format. Then, I was unable to delete the reusable block from the blog draft, leaving me no choice but to remove each portion of the block individually. Apparently, that led to a permanent edit of my sign off block. The signature did not want to appear in this post, which had me worried about all of the other posts in which I used it. When I checked, most of them were there but some took way longer to load. I was afraid to override anything because I do not feel like editing hundreds of posts if the phenomenal block decided to mess things up for all my posts. So I added a new reusable block (the same). By then, the old one came back… But I deleted one and decided to publish. I clicked the button but all of a sudden, WP would not let me publish before agreeing to some changes that were hard to decipher. After a bit of clicking around, the post was published. Or so I thought. Two hours later I returned to my computer to see that it never went live. I had to go around it and publish it through a back door. Hopefully that worked. Now, it is showing two signatures for me, but who knows what you will see. (One of them is now deleted after having confirmed with you there were two visible.) Please let me know if anything looks out of whack and I will try to fix it. *Takes a deep breath and does a rain dance so as not to break WP*) LONG LIVE BLOCKS! NOT.
Growing up, FIFA’s World Cup every four years was the sporting competition which I awaited with utmost anticipation. The time between one event and the next seemed to last forever. Thankfully, to help with the hunger for soccer-relate adrenaline, we had Euro Cup (UEFA European Championship), also every four years, which would conveniently occur in-between the World Cups.
While in every other aspect of my life I try to be versatile, when it comes to sports, I prefer to focus on only a select few. Since I played soccer, it was only natural for me to eat and breathe it, too. My parents encouraged me to watch tennis tournaments, but I found them mostly boring. (I know that is an unpopular belief.) Olympics were always too scattered for me. We would see someone run one minute, the next we would watch windsurfing, and then there would be weightlifting right after. The reason for watching sports is not only to watch sports. For me, it is about getting engaged in what is going on on the screen and you cannot o that when the discipline changes so often. Plus, where is the fun in watching people run? It seems like something similar to watching paint dry.
However, once I became an adult, I started seeing the beauty in Olympic versatility. There were so many “sports” to choose from! (Yes, most Olympic disciplines do not appear very sport-like to me.) Moreover, I started seeing things beyond the competition like the opening and closing ceremonies. These events are meticulously planned for year and require a lot of money, time, and effort. I could not stop but marvel. Soon enough, I realized how those are also filled with competitive spirit. Every host city wants to outshine the one that held the Olympics four years before them and that excites me. Healthy competition is something that elevates my heart rate and floods my brain with dopamine.
2020 was when the Summer Olympics were scheduled to occur as well as the European Soccer Championship. Needless to say, both have been rescheduled. If you are a fan of soccer, you may want to tune in in June for a month-long competition hosted by 12 different cities spread out in countries all over the continent (unprecedented). Once that is done, you can switch the channel to watch the Summer Olympics (July-August) that will take place in Japan.
With the COVID-19 virus still impacting us on a regular basis, I find it hard to look forward to the sporting events for which I once longed. On top of the pandemic, some parts of the Norther Hemisphere are also dealing with a difficult winter. However, the detached media seems to already be focusing on the Winter Olympics in 2022. Why are we so hellbent on trying to solve potential problems so far into the future? It is advisable to have foresight, but we need to pay close attention to what is right in front of us rather than completely dismissing it.
The Winter Olympics of 2022 will occur in the month of February, in Beijing. Before I knew it was the winter edition, I wondered why the same city got to host the competition again while there are many other places fighting for that privilege. This took me back to the year of 2008. Can you believe that was over a decade ago? It certainly does not seem like that long ago to me. Both – the opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular, involving hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of synchronized performers. “Only in China,” I and many of the people I knew commented. The performances were breathtaking. Everyone had to agree on that. Whoever was to come next would have big shoes to fill. Oh, how my life was so much simpler back then… The good ‘ol days, you could say… The Olympics that followed are a haze. Life just sped up, leaving me dizzy and nauseous.
When I read that the Beijing Olympics were being boycotted, I thought it was some sort of a mistake. After digging a little bit more into things, I found out that numerous organizations from around the world are calling for the boycott because of China’s track record of human rights violations. The article argues that China detains and abuses Muslims, surveils and enforces labor on Tibetans and suppresses the culture of Inner Mongolia. Of course, China does not see it quite like that.
Instead of discussing China’s perceived transgressions, I, like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), prefer to focus on the games. In my opinion, not sending our athletes in for the competition will not help anyone get more rights. Due to the pandemic, I believe that the monetary gain for the host will be nowhere near what is normally anticipated.
The U.S. boycotted the Olympics that took place in the Soviet Union in 1980. Four years later, the USSR boycotted the event that took place in the U.S.A. Tit for tat without much impact. When I think of the Olympics, I think of all the athletes and their teams who worked day and night to be able to fight for a medal that is coveted by many but only obtained by few. If we choose to boycott the event, we inadvertently deny those people the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Is that something we are prepared to do even if the boycott does not guarantee any positive outcomes?
At first, our government chose not to take sides, but now, it says that no final decision has been made. I have to admit that being an American during the Olympics feels good. We are always at the top of the contenders’ list for the medals, which definitely boosts my pride. It appears unfathomable not to have our athletes represent this amazing country on an international arena.
Voice of America mentions the protest of 2008 which was attended by three people and viewed by Chinese passersby as something alien. They were not sure what was going on and why. Imagine that your country is about to host the Olympics and then people from other countries decide to fight for your rights and they boycott the event. How would you feel? I probably would be rather annoyed, but maybe it is my privilege talking. David Lampton, professor emeritus of China Studies, recently wrote for Newsweek, explaining the effects of the potential boycott: “they [average Chinese citizens] will consider it to be an attack on the Chinese people and their national and civilizational dignity, as well as an attempt to humiliate, not negotiate.” China is already fighting back by promising sanctions on any country that will try to politicize the event and withdraw from competing.
Where does all that leave me? I will not boycott the Olympics because I do not think it will help anyone. Moreover, I think it might harm many. The athletes that trained but will not get to compete for gold will most likely fall into the arms of depression. “What is the point?” they will ask. Yes, there might be another chance for some of them in four years, but others might not be able to try again then. Also, I believe that having something to look forward to might give an average citizen some hope during these still dark pandemic times. Our nation is severely divided. Would rooting for the same cause/team not bring us closer together? I think it might.
The title of this post contains a word that many might not know. Did you look it up or did you hope I would explain it to you? Or… have you decided not to care and to move on with your life without wasting time on solving this mystery? Whichever category you fall under, I am hear to tell you that boyg is:
- Are you a sports fan?
- Do you watch the Olympics or any other sporting competitions?
- Do you remember your life back from 2008?
- What do you think about the potential boycott?
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