Sunday, 11 September 2016

What Paralympics?

Anyone who knows me will also know that I have almost no interest in sport. The Senior Cat isn't interested either. He managed to dislocate his shoulder twice throwing a cricket ball to the children at school and says they are his greatest achievements in the field of sport.
I can boast of one real achievement in the field of sport. I once bowled out Sir Donald Bradman.  Yes, really. Okay, I confess it was at a cricket match for children with disabilities. I was bowling for one of the boys who couldn't even hold the boy. The kids considered this fair as I can hold the ball and throw it - but it could land anywhere. Sir Donald was batting - and not paying attention because he thought he "knew" that I wasn't going to get the ball anywhere near the wicket. Just as he turned to say something to the "umpire" I threw the ball and - I still don't believe this myself - it hit the wicket. He was out. (He left very gracefully.)
The only thing that little episode did was to give me the vaguest of vague interest in the psychology of the game of cricket. I still don't fully understand the rules of the game.
But the Paralympics?  Well, no I am not particularly interested in the sense that it is sport and it isn't something I bother about but I am infuriated by the fact that enormous news coverage was given to the Olympics and, apart from the opening ceremony, the Paralympics have been given almost no attention in the media here.
Now there is something wrong with that because, believe me, the Paralympians have worked just as hard to get there - if not harder. Some of them are taking risks that other people wouldn't dare to take. It takes real courage to jump if you can't see or are unbalanced through the loss of a limb or your hearing has gone and your body has to work just a little bit harder in the pool. You need to be more alert to what is going on around you so as not to injure yourself or those around you. Wheelchair basketball is an incredibly dangerous game. (Wheelchair "football/soccer" is even worse. I know. The boys had me at it one unforgettable night. It was terrifying.) You have to trust the people guiding you if you are blind. And have you ever considered what happens to someone who uses a manual wheelchair and injures a hand or arm?
There was no mention of medal winners or broken records on our major international news service. All we have seen is that spectacular and quite crazy somersault in the opening ceremony. Perhaps all the journalists and camera people are just too tired. Perhaps they have all just gone home. 
It's a pity. The rest of the world might learn something from the Paralympics.

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

I think the international news service does not have the 'rights' to broadcast because they have been claimed by a commercial network. I am annoyed that the commercial network has at least 3 channels, two of which were taken up with Olympic coverage (and all three channels at certain times of the day were broadcasting Olympics). Now that the Paralypmics are on, the commercial network cannot even dedicate one channel to the games. It annoys me especially when the time zone means the broadcasts are in the wee hours and early morning - right when families are getting off to work etc. You would think the network could replay the coverage during the middle of the day or at least early evening instead of waiting until 10 p.m. The broadcasters are only showing bits and pieces of I would love to just sit down and watch an entire 4 quarters of basketball or full sets of tennis etc. which would be possible with 24 hour coverage.

Gee whiz! What a rant! Not even a stop for breath or paragraph breaK! sORRY! unlike you and Senior Cat, I LOVE sport and agree about the courage and determination of our Paralympians.

One thing I do not like is one of the commentators wanting to always focus on how a person came to be a Paralympian. Often it requires the athlete to recall some sort of traumatic experience. It made me very angry when an athlete described 'muultiple injuries' as a result of a serious accident. That's all that needed to be said. The athlete was ready to let the conversation stop right there but then the commentator pressed the athlete for details. That disgusted me. Who wants to relive traumatic experiences? Does it even matter in the context of the Paralympics?

An athlete is an athlete. Each one has been classified according to their abilities. As long as they are in the correct classification and competing fairly, how they got there is irrelevant.

Yes, talk up people's abilities and comment on limitations when necessary to explain for the audience's greater appreciation but don't take the shine off a celebratory event by dwelling on the past. Focus on the athleticism and personal qualities of these amazing people as you would for fully able-bodied athletes.

I felt very sorry for the athlete that was put on the spot on national tv by a callous reporter.