An Aesop’s Fable – The Game

(Through Rose-Coloured Glasses)

Once upon a time, all species of the Animal Kingdom, gathered every year in a sport meet. They called it the Games. Amateur athletes got together, to compete in all kinds of sport, for fun and friendship. Winners were awarded with medals to commemorate their best effort, well done.

One year, some animals got smart, and started training their athletes all year round, and swept up all the medals. After that, all athletes turned professional. They built their dreams on winning gold. They pushed their physical ability to their limits and perfected their athletic skills. They sacrificed, trained and endured to fulfill their dreams. They broke kingdom records, after records.

They proclaimed the Games spirit,

“The most important thing in the Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

They enjoyed their time together, and looked forward to see each other and the competitions, year after year.

The Games spirit evolved into the national pride and patriotism of all animals of the kingdom. Every year they cheered their teams on, proud and elated in their acheivements, to be part of the Games.

Eventually, all athletes’ physical and skill limits were reached. How were they to break more kingdom records and win medals? To attain new breakthrough, they turned to scientific reserches, to technology advances in designing new sport equipments and facilities, to extend their performances and skills, and break more records. But the unscrupulous ones, turned to cheating, using illegal drugs, steroids, hormones and such to win, at all costs. They also considered to make use of advances in medical science like gene therapy/genetic-manupilation, simply to enhance performances, to win medals.

In the future, will surrogate robotic doubles start appearing in the Games?

Competitions of the Games no longer confined only to the sport events. The opening and closing ceremonies staged by the hosts were getting more and more elaborate and spectacular, they out-did each other, year after year. The events also became photo-ops for politicians.

That’s the end of the Aesop Fable.

Then it happened. The accidental death of an Olympic luger. No matter what its cause is, we know we all are pushing too hard, in the quest of gold. This should be a lightening rod on our head, a warning signal that was long overdued and too late in coming.

We should get back to the root, to the Olympic spirit, winning is not everything. As our past gold medalist Nancy Greene Raine said today in her Toronto Star article, “Ignite a Dream, Create a Winner” :

When the Games are over and we ask “Did we win?”, we shouldn’t measure it simply by the number of medals our athletes take home.

We should ask, “Have we inspired participation in active and healthy lifestyles in people all across Canada? Did we change the way Canadians value excellence in sport? Are more kids interested in pursuing excellence? Did those medals ignite kids to get involved?”

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