Many people do not treat sports in exactly the same way that most American do, but there is something about these events and favorite pastime that transcends a mere game. In this country, guys can become instant millionaires before they can fully comprehend how to analyze a grammatical sentence or work fully a fraction to perfection. A few high school drop outs have been known to make just as much or even more than some fortune 500 CEOs and even the President of the United States. It is in the political and social arena however that sports in this country have been able to have its greatest impact. Let me throw a few images at you, Mohammed shouting I am the greatest, even while he was nearly incarcerated for daring to defy the draft authorities with the claims that innocent Vietnamese people did him no harm. At the kids of countless American elites were safe in the colleges through deferments, and even volunteering for soft assignments in the National Guard and other nonsensical areas .He thus became a useful symbol for social justice across the nation and is revered even as we speak today.
Remember Jackie Robinson becoming the first to open the doors for other blacks in America’s favorite game baseball? How about Michael Jordan becoming the idol and basketball icon that allowed his dark skin to be almost irrelevant as most across the globe wanted to “be like Mike.” Today outside of soccer, basketball is perhaps the most popular sports in the world-and gives true meaning to the expression world champion when a team’s coach need 12 dictionaries or he must be multilingual to organize a practice among his globally diversified team. Can you remember Jesse Owen , as he made the fool and buffoon Hitler looked like an idiot by destroying his quaint superior Aryan race ideology, by beating every white German athlete to walk away with every medal , all the time knowing fully well that most of his own white countrymen harbored similar prejudicial and discriminatory views about blacks.
Then what about that black power salute by a few defiant black Americans willing to pay the price and make a stand against perceived injustices at home. Then there are the Williams sisters in tennis, Tiger Woods in golf and the 2008 Boston Celtics champions. The first two sports have changed dramatically and might never be the same the actions of them all. Their total domination against overwhelming odds, proved once and for all what can be done via commitment and strong spirit. Two decades ago one token black or more would be wearing a Celtics uniform as they dominated the game year after year in an overwhelming Irish and often racist state. Today , with the exception of the general manager and owner , the entire victorious team that took to the floor including the coach ,to again bring a championship to the state were black and no one gave it a second thought as it is seen as the norm.
The world is catching up, but perhaps not fast enough. With the Olympics fast approaching a billion people in China are walking on eggshells as it were for fear that thousands might make a political move reminiscent to that which was engineered by Americans in boycotting the Moscow Olympics. The issues, China, prevailing human right record at home especially against dissident groups like the Tibetans , and her tactic supports for tyrants such as Sudan that are presently committing similar acts of genocide that mirrors that which took place in Rwandan, Kosovo, and Hitler’s concentration camps. As a first sign of contrition or is it a PR stunt by the political savvy nuvo rich emerging capitalist, the country has decided to ban one of its favorite meats in restaurants during the Olympics . The objective I believe was, so as not to offend the sensibilities of foreign tourist. Now one good deed deserves another, so the Western powers, United Nations and others remain silent as China weald his economic clout and global big stick in its stance against sanction Zimbabwe, and Sudan. Some things just take a bit longer to accomplish , but no one can really deny the global interconnection and soothing influence of sports in the past, and most definitely today.