The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0909  Tuesday, 2 April 2002

From:           Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 Apr 2002 07:18:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0894 Re: Film and Other Adaptations
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0894 Re: Film and Other Adaptations

Sam Small writes, "All sports are a load of old 'Capulet and Montague',
if you ask me.  The very notion of sports competition is to degrade the
opposition - not to forgive them.  And forgiveness will save the world,
if nothing else does.  The opening scene from R&J could be any football
hooligans from the English scene, Jew/Arab, Irish/British etc etc.  As
Dylan (Bob) said "When will they ever learn?"  In my view, it wouldn't
be extreme to suggest that sportsmen (and women) encourage the warlike,
unforgiving mindset that enable young girls to blow themselves up in
crowded supermarkets."

Interesting comment, but not _quite_ where I would place the emphasis.
Did the gentleman say _all_ sports, as in _all sports_?


Will Shakespeare and other playmakers were well aware that _religion_
was the primary divider between groups.  What divides Ireland and the
Near East peoples are religions, not sports.  Thus, murderous activities
such as bombings are really religiously motivated.  Sure, national pride
can lead to maniacs like Hitler, and lead whole peoples to activities
they wish never to occur.  But, hey, mankind has a _lot_ to learn yet.
Wasn't the shifts from Catholicism to Protestantism, from one Queen to
her sister, what caused the horrible activities of the latter 16th
century in England?  And wasn't that the stuff of the playmakers, as

Now, I admit that some sports have gotten too violent.  I refuse to
watch American pro hockey anymore, inasmuch as the sport has become too
stick and fist oriented.  Blame it on those who run it on behalf of
those who watch it.

But we should not forget that sports have a varied past, with some being
pleasant _ball_ games in ancient Egypt which did not seem to create
violence, and other sports such as arena events really more warlike with
gladiators fighting to the kill.  Here in South Florida we had a match
between Rios, from Chile, with a contingent in the stands, and Agassis,
American, in a stadium packed with fellow Americans, and when the umpire
admonished the fans _not_ to yell while players were playing, the fans
behaved.  In lawn tennis of Wimbledon, the eventmakers themselves
_demand_ players wear white, bow and curtsey to royalty, and fans to
restrain their responses, and players and fans from every nation on the
planet do _show_ that respect, because it is demanded of the spectators
and the players.

I hate to say this, but: Law rules :)

Sure, we could change the rules for all the sports and do away with all
forms of violence in sports.  I do _not_ know how you would handle
boxing?  Ban it, as we have gladiator sports, an oxymoron if there ever
was one.

Religions have leaders, and some of them are also the political figures
in their respective spheres.  We forget that politic, politics,
political, have a root in polis, and need not look further than the
tallest manmade structure in cities for its meaning: Cleopatra's needles
in ancient Egypt, or the Washington monument in Washington, DC.  S/he
who controls the polis, controls the city.  The struggles in the Near
East are over land and religion, as are the struggles in Ireland, and on
and on around the world.

Sports and politics are completely different creations of mankind, and
the two need _not_ be confused.  In America, we created a framework
Constitution which separates church and state.  Perhaps, the rest of the
world should take note.  We'll gladly share our innovation with mankind.

As to sports: blame it on the rule makers, the event sponsors, the
bodies which govern.  The recent Olympics events with the biases exposed
in the judging of figure skating shows that even in this day and age,
supposedly modern, the bodies which govern are looking to find a more
equitable solution to governing the sport.  The same can be said for any
sport.  Personally, I wish they would take the violence out of hockey
and put skating back in.  As in basketball, a player who throws a punch
is fined and banned from games.  So let it be for any sport.  There have
been incidents where the outside _Law_ in the community invoked its
_polis_ power!  The same can apply to fans, if they see that the events
on the field are tamed, their reactions will be tamed, and that includes
the ugly spectacles at world soccer matches.

Bill Arnold

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