Sunday 30 November 2014

Outing of sport

A couple of days ago, I suggested you read a longform about an athlete and her quest to unearth the causes of her medical problem(s) by research. In my rush to get copy out and because I'd gone on too long already, I didn't draw attention to a quote that gave me a ding of empathy. But my pal Russ was also caught by it and so I share here for those who don't follow all my links and read everything with care-and-attention. "It wasn’t that she was much of a competitor, exactly—passing someone in a race felt more deflating than energizing. Mostly Kim just wanted to be moving".  Here is an athlete, who has devoted her entire life to running, abseiling, kayaking to edge of endurance, who doesn't care about winning. Cripes, if I'd known you could participate without caring about who won, I'd have done better at sports . . . maybe.

Then metafilter pointed us at a Marxist deconstruction of Strictly Come Dancing by Alexei Sayle.  Sayle's key beef with Strictly it that conflates art with sport in a way that degrades the former and all who participate (dancers, judges, viewers).  This was expressed with passion and integrity way down in the comments "The real problem of Strictly is to mix art (which is meant to be collaborative and transcendent) with sport (point scoring, judge pleasing). That's why I hate ballroom competetions. It's also why I hate singing contests, arts prizes, literary prizes and that whole nauseating caper. Art is not sport - every time you mix the two (and rhythmic gymnastics and diving come into this category) you get a mess.  And I'll also thank Sayle for naming the seepiness of RG: "the disturbing Olympic event of rhythmic gymnastics (can anybody explain why it is only little girls in tight costumes who perform this “sport”?)". I'll add that to boxing as a spectator sport that will be banned when I become President.  Incidentally, Katie Taylor just won the World Boxing Championship in her class for the 5th time in 10 years and was fulsomely tribbed on her return home by our current President Michael D. Higgins who momentarily parked his life-time commitment to human rights and human dignity.

I have written about running your heart out as a way of achieving transcendence; not forgetting Derartu Tulu's instinctive kindness being bigger than winning. Maybe the longer you run, the less you are competing with other and more competing with yourself.  This all started an ear-worm nagging: "dance like there's nobody watching" and I had to track that down . . . to Quote Investigator.  It is according to QI much bowdlerised but:
You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money
Love like you’ll never get hurt
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work
comes from 1989 and song-writers Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh who have this to say: "For some reason, people have a great deal of trouble attributing this lyric to its creators: Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh. The reason you can not find any printed or recorded support for these assertions dating back any earlier than our song, is because they don’t exist. In other words, as disappointing as it may be to learn for those who use our work without permission, the lyric is not in the public domain, but actually a relatively new work “made up” by a couple of hard-working songwriters." Harrumph indeed!

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