Fun­less­ness and Games

The Southland Times - - COMMENT&OPINION -

For once, footage of a bored­look­ing Camilla made her look like a woman of the peo­ple.

It’s hardly as though ev­ery­one else at the Com­mon­wealth Games clos­ing cer­e­mony was ex­ult­ing in the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Worse than that, many of those glazed-over spec­ta­tors were the very ath­letes who should, by rights, have been at the beat­ing heart of the cer­e­mony.

They didn’t get to pa­rade and lark about in front of the live cam­eras, win­ners and losers to­gether, uni­fied by the re­lease of so much of ten­sion and pres­sure.

In­stead of that fun, loose­ness and sense of un­bur­dened plea­sure, the event seemed more a showcase for Aus­tralian Idol per­form­ers most of whom will have found their in­volve­ment less ca­reeren­hanc­ing than they might have hoped.

And the speeches ... sheesh. Talk about en­durance.

Even the marathon run­ners would have been wilt­ing while the voices of the Com­mon­wealth puffed hal­i­to­sis-in­fused phrases of con­grat­u­la­tion and as­pi­ra­tion around the sta­dium, as if the take­home mes­sage was that words, some­how, mat­tered more than deeds af­ter all.

Re­duced to hold-still-and-pay­at­ten­tion spec­ta­tors, ath­letes whose lives for so long have been all about stamina and dis­ci­pline found that their stores of both were ex­hausted.

Long be­fore the con­clu­sion of the show, great numbers of them had cleared off, re­al­is­ing as they did that there must surely be bet­ter par­ties go­ing on else­where.

Clearly the same thought had oc­curred to many thou­sands of the spec­ta­tors.

That is a shame not only for them, but also for the vol­un­teer par­tic­i­pants. Es­pe­cially the kids for whom this could, and should, have been a more in­spi­ra­tional oc­ca­sion. It was hardly their fault.

Lessons will be learned for fu­ture Games as this cer­e­mony serves its one truly use­ful pur­pose - a com­pelling cau­tion­ary tale about how not to do it. asdf Still, the Games them­selves will still be well re­mem­bered, cer­tainly from a New Zealand per­spec­tive.

The Kiwi suc­cesses surely out­weighed the dis­ap­point­ments at team and in­di­vid­ual lev­els, with many heart-in-the-mouth mo­ments. Some of them led to erup­tive cel­e­bra­tions through­out the coun­try - surely none moreso than the women’s rugby heap­ing drama upon drama.

The mis­eries of the Sil­ver Ferns’ per­for­mances were un­al­loyed but their pride should not have been put into ques­tion. The pro­fun­dity of their dis­tress showed as much.

On a daily ba­sis, the New Zealand ath­letes showed in com­pe­ti­tion, and out­side it, the hu­man qual­i­ties that sport ex­ists to evoke and re­ward. And if, longer term, the Aussies re­dis­cover how to throw a half­way de­cent party, then so much the bet­ter.

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