Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tag Along

I would like to suggest that we make Tag an Olympic event. It could be held during the winter, but I expect an open field in the bright sunshine would make it a much better sell. The spectacle. The challenge. The pageantry. I haven't got the exact IOC rules in mind just yet, but I think it would go a long way toward bringing peace to the world through competition.
The initial notion I had came from a somewhat romanticized view of warfare between Native American tribes. Counting coup is the historical genesis of the game of tag. Rushing up to your enemy not to kill them, but to touch them and get away safely was considered the highest form of bravery. And it didn't involve mass destruction. It was all about making your enemy "it." Along  with the running and jumping that can be found in the Olympics are events that mimic war in obvious ways: throwing spears, shooting rifles, archery. Why not wind the clock all the way back to the most civilized form of combat? Sure, judo and karate and wrestling have their roots in history before gunpowder, but this would allow the United States a chance to show off some of its heritage.
I am suggesting this because I have always admired the way the Olympics bring out the best in all of us, and how the nations of the world set aside their differences to settle their hash on the courts, fields, tracks and pools of athletic competition. Except for that dust-up in Munich back in 1972. And the bomb going off in Atlanta. And the various boycotts by various country's teams for various reasons over the years. Mostly it's not armed conflict. It's athletic contests that reduce rivalries between nations to something that NBC can use to fill a couple weeks of their broadcasting schedule.
Better, faster, stronger would have to be accompanied by wily. It might also give kids a new role model or two. They might never get to be as fast as Usain Bolt, or as dominant as Michael Jordan, but staying just out of reach of that outstretched hand or becoming a world-class "it" is something any kid on any playground in the world could aspire.
It's also the kind of lesson that can be taught to a world looking in: There is no real end to the game, after all. It ends when the group runs out of interest. Like the computer taught us in WarGames: The only winning move is not to play.

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