Mediocrity vs Equality

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Now that the Olympic Games are long over and forgotten, we must remember the sneering hate-mongers that came out to play and attack athletes because they won, or didn’t win, or had the audacity to have national pride.

Whatever the result the athlete achieved, because they were representing their country, they were a target.

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The main issue I saw was government funding for athletes for no apparent return to the people. “We can’t sell your gold medal,” was one quote that burns in my memory, making me laugh bitterly at the self-righteous idiot who said it.

I want to look at government spending in the sports industry as an investment, not a free handout. The government wants something in return; what would that return be?

Whether or not the sporting individual wins gold, some good will come from it. They are investing in a healthier generation, a generation inspired by athletes, and the athletes’ stories on how they got to Rio. Kids can look at Cat and Bronte and think, “I could be a sporting star,” or “my sibling and I might get some clay shooters, or get the basketball out”¬†after their mammoth efforts. I personally took up fencing after the 2000 Olympics.

Seeing Australian athletes compete in the Olympics give young Australians the knowledge that whatever their passion, it is achievable for them. That working hard, making sacrifices, can give you a chance to be just like your hero. In turn those goals can be assisted by the government in the hope that the next generation after is inspired to reach the top.

This is equality. Everybody has a chance to achieve something, it’s how you spend your time with that chance.

The problem is that equality is so often confused with mediocrity.

This year I have been in a few small tournaments, and in these tournaments everybody has walked away with something. One time I didn’t place. I didn’t deserve anything. However, I still walked away with a “prize.” This felt hollow and I didn’t really want it. When I actually managed to place, my accomplishment felt watered down and cheap. Which was a shame due to my hard work leading up to it, and I have since put less effort in, and I have turned down events.

We can’t go on to achieve great things if we are all given the same gruel. Those that work hard are then assisted to encourage others to work hard. Why work hard for something if it’s not going to push boundaries and be rewarding? This isn’t just sport; it’s for art, innovation, science, business, etc.

We all have the same opportunities for greatness in whatever field we so desire. But it never comes knocking.

Our athletes have worked hard, so very hard, to get the recognition and funding for their work. Those criticising them also had the same chance to do something but instead chose sipping lattes with a bowl haircut and diminishing everyone else’s accomplishments because they got funding for it, and the bowl-cut didn’t for sitting back doing nothing.

Photo by ianpatterson99