Sunday, August 21, 2016

What Hath We Wrought?

Much has been said about Ryan Lochte and his lying to Brazilian police over what he said was a robbery at gunpoint - yada, yada, yada ... I am not here to re-hash that nonsense or attempt to rationalize his actions.  I do have an opinion, as you could imagine.
We live in an age of entitlement, where parents of children feel that they are entitled to ... whatever ... a cell phone, expensive clothes, a college education; all that the teat of their parents who feel like they have let their children down if they do not provide these privileges - like the other kids get.
It's the highest and most invasive form of peer pressure.
I don't know any of the athletes who competed in Rio this year.  What I would assume however, is that somewhere along the line, they were given a break or three in order to pursue their dream of, I don't know, beating people from another country at something.  It is what it is - whatever it is.
The overriding assumption is that they are people of privilege.  People whose parents, guardians, or trust-owners found a way for them to pursue their athletic goals at the expense of (oh, I don't know) working for a living or otherwise earning their way through life. Cut through your Politically Correctness, and you'll scratch that itch, too.  After all, how can a person working a 40-hour week possibly train enough to compete in a sport that provides no remuneration?  Ask yourself - how can a person go to Rio de Janeiro for two weeks to participate in a sport that has no professional league or possible financial remuneration?  The answer: Privilege.
And, that is the point.  We live in an athletic society that gives out Participation trophies and awards everybody equally - until they get to a point where winning matters.  By then, it's too late.
They have been trained that (pardon my French) their shit doesn't stink, and that the idea that they are faster than everyone else matters somehow, in the grand scheme - which is the only scheme that matters.  The fact is, their shit does stink - when they shit it.  It stinks to people who otherwise don't care that they can run, jump, or swim faster than anybody else.  The problem is that the athlete has never been held accountable.
When they are, the proverbial shit hits the fan; and they have to scramble to explain something that, long ago would have been swept under the rug because "[our boy] is going to the Olympics, and we can't let anything derail that."
The danger is in treating some people differently than others.  That flies in the face of our world of equality, where one person's belief system is equal to another.  Teachers are fired for posting racist views on Facebook. People are ostracized for drunk driving, petty crimes, and odd behavior.  Athletes are a different matter.
Michael Vick found a new career after abusing animals. The Eagles just signed a known drug abuser who pushed a woman down a flight of stairs. The list is almost endless. If you can run fast, score touchdowns, swim, hit a ball ... we have a place for you.  If your skills are more "pedestrian,"  well ... good luck.
We are building a society that will offend us.

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