Two recent decisions--one by the International Olympic Committee and one by the US Department of Justice--makes me wonder about what's happened to sports.
First, another monumentally stupid IOC decision.
How can they DO this?
They saved rhythmic gymnastics, badminton and golf, yachting, equestrian events, and ping pong. What's next, duplicate bridge? Scrabble, for God's sake (don't get me started on the hierarchy in [i]that[/i] game)?
Reasons they gave included ticket sales (yeah, 97% sold out in London is a real failure)number of countries involved (71 for wrestling, 34 for equestrian) and tv coverage. Really? Ask any American sports fan whose interests don't include swimming, gymnastics, figure skating, or any of the women's sports about the quality of NBC's coverage for the Winter OR Summer games. If they're like me, you'll get an earful. I know that they're gone, but give me Howard Cosell and Jim McKay and ABC any day over these clowns.
It was widely thought that the Modern Pentathlon, a melange of shooting, riding, swimming, and I'm not sure what else was on the chopping block, but one of the current members of the IOC, the son of Juan Antonio Samaranch, lobbied to keep it and in the end wrestling got the heave-ho. Just like that.
I want you to think and think hard about all the kids you know who are involved in youth sports of any kind, especially one where the Olympics are held up as the highest standard of their sport. All those wrestling coaches get to go back to all those kids and explain how a bunch of overstuffed high-priced suits are destroying their dreams. You may not have a youth wrestling program where you are but just apply it to football or soccer or volleyball, take your pick. Softball and baseball already got the IOC shaft, and now wrestling is next.
If you support youth wrestling, high school, college, whatever level, whether you have kids in it or not, I strongly urge you to do whatever you can to help the idiots at the IOC see the light. Wrestling has been part of the Olympics since the outset. There are too many kids who will be hurt by this outrageous action and we mustn't let another day pass without doing something. If you're in a state where wrestling is big (at least it is in Pennsylvania where I live), go to a meet (state tournaments are going on right now), volunteer, write letters, make phone calls, emails, do it today!
*--Dan Fogelberg, The Innocent Age, 1981.
I'll get into the DOJ nonsense later.
Bronx Cheers for the IOC.
Cheers for all my brother wrestlers and their parents, siblings, teammates, opponents, and coaches and their staffs, and yes, even the guy scrubbing the mats.