of warfare. Other forms of sport are also anything from minor skirmishes to major battles. There is nothing friendly or fair about them. The cost is high.
There was a student at one of my universities who was also a long distance runner. He was "in training" and he was studying. I do not know how far he ran each day but he was spending hours each day in physical exercise. He did this before lectures, between lectures and after lectures. In the time that was left over he was attending lectures, studying, eating and sleeping. He never socialised apart from brief appearances at meals. He was up for selection for Australia. Nothing else mattered - or so he was told.
There was another student who had been a swimmer. He had begun his swimming career early. He was keen. His parents were keen. He was at the pool at 5am every morning - taken there by his parents. After training and breakfast he headed off to school. After a day at school he headed back to the pool and then, in the evenings, he studied. He never socialised either - until he came to his senses.
He told me about it. He told me.
"I suddenly realised that I was spending hours staring at the bottom of the pool. Life in my family had to revolve around me. It was costing an enormous amount. Just feeding me was expensive. It was not worth it. I did not have that sort of killer extinct. I don't believe anybody should be asked to do it. We certainly should not be told it is a good thing. It isn't."
Not everyone would agree with him. For many that Olympic gold medal is worth all the effort. They have the killer instinct. They will risk everything to get one.
The Olympics left Greece long ago. They have become something quite different now. This time around they are reportedly costing London something like £10 billion - much of that on security needed to protect people from outside threats. Yes, they will recoup a great deal of that through the influx of tourists to the country but the expense is huge. Each Olympics has to be bigger, better and more spectacular than the one before. It has become ridiculous.
It occurs to me thought that, if we must have the Olympics, they could be returned to Greece. There should be a permanent venue built in Greece. Everyone could contribute to this and then the Greeks could run the event every four years. It would save the vast expense of hosting and some of the corruption involved in the bidding for the Olympics. In between the facilities could be used for sporting and other events.
Yes I am aware that "the generals" running the sporting armies might not like the idea - but it might just save the Greek economy.