Why we watch sport.
by, 10-12-2010 at 06:15 PM (1063 Views)
I don't know how many people know that the Commonwealth Games are currently taking place in India. Until about 7.30pm local time tonight they had not been a success.
A month before they opened, reports of problems began to trickle in. The British press decide it was in their interest to do a knocking job on them, so we had a month of negative reporting :- Nothing will be ready. Unsanitary conditions. Its a disaster. Who's to blame, etcetera, etcetera ... Countries delayed flying out, some individual “superstar” athletes dropped out all together.
Well anyway, the opening ceremony took place on time and the games got under way - to empty stadiums, corruption with the ticket concession was suspected, but it could have been genuine apathy, who knows?
As to the action, it was usually a case of which first world country's athlete could beat the third choice Australian athlete. Times were not world class. Half the swimmers went down with Delhi Belly. The Press were having an I-told-you-so fest. However in their feeding frenzy they had failed notice how entertaining the sport was, a race is a race, time is irrelevant you race against those who are lined up against you and no one else. They'd forgotten what sport is all about.
Until that is 7.30pm Delhi time tonight, when the message was brought home loud and clear, on the last day of track and field, when four unknown Indian women won the 4x400m relay .
You see, sport can do that. It's why we watch it. It can give you a moment that transcends the merely possible. Four women running their hearts out, the look on their faces, bursting with effort and emotion. Running way beyond what is possible, yards down, but gaining gaining then a slender lead with one lap to go, the crowd roaring, the very air is shaking with noise. She's in front, though she shouldn't be. She can't hang on, but she does. Impossible though it is, she bursts away to win. Glorious!
The wave of delirious noise from the throats of people of all Nations, is described by Steve Cram as the loudest and most astounding he's ever heard in any stadium anywhere. The ever cool Michael Johnson admits he was up screaming too. And once again we are reminded what sport is really about, and why we watch it.