I have honestly given it my best shot but for some reason I just cannot get excited by the Paralympics.
Every time I turn on the television I find myself faced with a depressing autumn schedule bursting at the seams with lowest common denominator programming. In an attempt to avoid watching two annoying Geordies and the humiliation of dense people from a strata of the population I don’t recognise I find myself channel hopping and pretty soon I am sat watching the Paralympics. It’s packaged the same as the normal Olympics, it’s using the same locations as the normal Olympics, everything looks the same but it’s just isn’t. It isn’t otherwise I would watch as enthusiastically as I did a month ago.
The problem I find is pretty soon after tuning in I find my hand edging back towards the remote control. I get bored quickly and find myself trying to guess red or black along with the rest of the population with my brain resting in another room.
I really like sport, I love playing it and watching it so what is it about the Paralympics I just don’t get? Is it the various disabilities? Is it the need to classify and grade the disabilities to ensure a level playing field? Is it the implausible events ranging from the rather pedestrian sounding seated volleyball, through the improbable blind football right up to the laughable, whatever could go wrong, visually impaired javelin?
Honestly I don’t know why it is, it could be that if I am watching someone run 100meters I want to watch the best in the world, not the best of a particular segment of the population. I want to see the best, the fastest man on earth, the highest or longest jumper the best football players, the best swimmers, tennis players etc. I am simply not interested in the fastest man on earth with a particular disability or within a certain age bracket. Sporting endeavor is and should be Darwinism in its purest form.
Please don’t misunderstand, it’s not the disability which turns me off, I feel the same about watching ‘senior’ competitions, the over 40s or 50s or for that matter the under 21 competitions. Frankly I don’t care about them either. Why not go the whole inclusive hog and have a tournament for people with a BMI of >30?
In fact I would probably tune in and watch that, but just because it would be laugh.
I’m not against it, far from it, good for them for competing but I for one am going to watch Ant and Dec eat rhino turds in the jungle instead.
So why is it that I uncomfortable about the above?
A good friend of mine is a huge cricket fan and I have no issue whatsoever stating the obvious to him that cricket is a seriously dull game played at the speed of a koala on weed by a bunch of fannies in stupid clothes. That fine and he normally just nods in an accepting way without taking offence, as he should, because it’s true. But if I was to say for example, the Paralympics are shite the reaction I would receive might not be quite so accepting.
Maybe I should keep my opinions on such matters to myself to be on the safe side. In future when asked did I see the S2 dwarf hurdles last night I should respond with ‘yes, wasn’t it fantastic?’ and hope the conversations quickly shifts to I’m on X-Factor get me out of here.
But it does feel like I cannot say what I think or worse what I think or feel is horribly inappropriate and out of touch.
Bad sexual etiquette was George Galloway’s way of describing Julian Assange’s alleged rape charges recently and of course the reaction to his statement was predictably vitriolic. If some people could have their way he would be hung by the neck from the nearest lamppost and Mr Galloway himself knew this would be the reaction. He did it because he enjoys the infamy and the publicity this type of outburst gives him.
Regardless of his motivation though is he so wide of the mark to justify such a strong response? I would argue not, it’s more the subject matter which has become almost unmentionable. Opinions on the subject are so strong that most politicians of a serious bent steer the hell clear. Don’t touch it, it’s a minefield and you are guaranteed to piss one section of the population off if you do. Ken Clarke fell into the trap a couple of years ago and was castigated for suggesting there should be different degrees of rape, i.e. a 16 year old boy having consensual sex with a 15 year old girl is very different to the violent type of rape. I accept the age limit is there to ensure consent is given with a mature mind but it is different no matter how you look at it. In the same way that Julian Assange’s alleged crimes are different.
So what is so wrong with saying so?
What is wrong is there seems to be a culture where people cannot speak their mind, even if it is just to bring a healthy dose of common sense into the discussion.
Race and religion are another two topics which are untouchable and we have seen some ridiculous cases recently where applying a bit of common sense would have resolved the issues before they even became an issue and probably saved millions to boot.
It is almost as we continue to pursue our insatiable desire to protect people’s religious, sexual or racial freedoms we are losing our ability or the inclination to speak our minds on such subjects. We are too scared. We are losing the freedom to say what we think and I would counter this is something much more dangerous and definitely worth protecting.
If we lose sight of this we could very easily find ourselves sat at a mad hatter’s tea party, mute.
Anyway, enough of the soapbox.
I don’t like the Paralympics and that’s ok.