Poor Dutch speed skating coach Jillert Anema; he just doesn’t get the point.
Apparently, the Dutch have won several medals in Olympic speed skating, while the US has been shut-out. (I wouldn’t know; I haven’t watched a minute of any of the events).
Mr. Anema believes the reason is simple:
"You have a lot of attention for foolish sport, like American football," Anema told CNBC on Friday. "You waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, in a sport where it's meant to kill each other, to injure each other.”
I believe Mr. Anema would understand this better if he appreciated the psychological and emotional conditioning brought on by sports in general in the United States – but most particularly American football.
Before the game, military aircraft fly overhead; 60,000 people rise in joyous adulation. This is followed by the singing of the national hymn of worship. The words were written during America’s first war of foreign conquest – the war of 1812. The intent was to conquer Canada. The Americans failed; hence the war is instead known in the US as the second war for independence (or, more often, ignored).
The national hymn of worship is accompanied by a military color guard, or on special occasions, an entire military band. The lyrics include bombs and rockets, but most of all the flag – the colorful rag that artificially separates man from man.
Next comes a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, complete with his congressional medal of honor. He marches onto the field. The crowd turns silent – all 60,000 people. Not a sound. The crowd is told of his various accomplishments, meaning how many people he killed. Even more than for the military aircraft and the national hymn of worship, the crowd’s enthusiasm in uncontainable.
The game hasn’t even started, but the crowd is now in an almost uncontained frenzy – emotionally charged by national symbols of faith; reminded of the good in America through its brave military.
The crowd is in a fever pitch – symbols and singing all associated with death and destruction have brought them to this point (along with decades of conditioning by public schooling and mainstream media).
Now on to the game, and a reminder of Mr. Anema’s comments: “You waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, in a sport where it's meant to kill each other, to injure each other.”
The crowd is rightly prepared for a sport in which men will be injured. But the moment holds deeper meaning, yet the connection is so obvious; the analogy is too easy. His statement is equally applicable to the “sport,” if you will, of overseas conquest – the sport of the heroes who moments before flew overhead or marched onto the field.
"... (The U.S.) is so narrow-minded, and you waste a lot of good talent in a sport that sucks."
Mr. Anema is correct. Sadly, he is applying his words to the wrong sport.