Us + Them : Day + 16Posted: 24/04/2005
Hell-oooo. How are yoooooou? Yes, I am still on the morphine. Some bad headaches today, apparently a side-effect of the morphine itself. Ah, so it wasn’t the cure-all wonder-drug I was promised. I’ve been quite subdued today, leading my nurse to ask as tactfully as possible if I wanted talk to the support nurse about anything. “GET THE HELL AWAYYY FROM MEEEEE!!!” I screamed at her, gobbing freely and waving my arms around like a windmill. No, I didn’t. I said that I was fine, because I am, just a little quiet, that’s all.
I have spent recent days watching a fair bit of sport on TV. This is very unlike me as I have always felt uncomfortable ‘supporting’ a team. There is something about the irrational association and support of some sports team or other that just doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps I see a hypocritical/illogical element that prevents me from just joining in. For example, the other week the fans of Inter Milan attempted to ignite (literally) the goalkeeper of AC Milan over what they saw as an unfair referee decision. If Italy were to play say England, the fans may just as easily group together and want to make a barbecue with the english goalkeeper. Or if Team Europe were to play Team USA then, you guessed it, it would be Brad Striker (A guess) that would get the Fajita treatment. Its this infinitely movable ‘Us & Them’ mentality that gives me the creeps and to which I don’t fully relate. But I don’t mean to be a killjoy: I have enjoyed many sporting moments and I appreciate that sport provides an arena in which we reach and expand our limits.
I also feel that sport provides people with a much-desired need to judge, rank and apply values. In life, it is difficult to rate success: We put forward money and status as the currency of success but the millionaire rock-star may be utterly depressed, a pauper may feel she has enough to be happy. Sport provides a welcome microcosm where success is clear. You win. You lose. And people love it. There is an insatiable desire to build an arena where there is one undisputed winner. This provides a structure where success is simple, uncomplicated, ecstatic. We won! I have no problem with this, but the spilling over of competitive values into ‘real life’ is a shame. Top Ten music, anxiety over status, the worship of money, self-hatred are all unwanted by-products. Real life ain’t that simple and true success is an internal journey fundamentally different between people and with no common value system.
I long for a world where people will see this and destructive competitive ‘Us & Them’ values hold no power over us.
And I would be the best at it.
Just kidding! Milt x