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Vail Valley Voices: Imagine settling conflicts with sports instead of wars

Will Brendza
Vail, CO, Colorado

Often I imagine a world where wars are fought, won and lost on a track field, in a lap pool, on a gymnastics floor, a soccer field, or on a wrestling mat – a world where arguments are settled through feats of physical prowess instead of acts of violence.

In such a world, governments would work tirelessly to keep their citizens fit and in competitive condition.

We would no longer need to play games like “who’s atom bomb is bigger” or “cold war” (or for that matter, “hot war”). Instead we would play real games — high diving, marathons, shot put, javelin, long jump and so on.

Conflict between countries would be productive and exciting instead of violent, dangerous and counterproductive.

Future generations would grow up understanding these games as the centerpiece of human culture, the ultimate place to leave your legacy etched in history, and the event in which our world comes together as a single entity and resolves major issues.

Such a world would put weapons engineers, mercenaries and armament manufacturers out of jobs. Coaches, trainers, and athletes would replace them.

Billions of dollars, Euros, yen, franks, florins, and pounds could be taken from “defense” budgets and put toward education, health-care systems, infrastructure, environmental protection and fitness.

We could once again strive toward space exploration and deep-sea exploration because the need to build tanks, helicopters, guns and bombs would be far less pressing.

Instead of scientifically pursuing our own destruction in the name of defense, we would pursue the ultimate level of fitness and physical ability in the name of settling differences.

These games would bring the world closer together, and illustrate the dexterity of our race.

The world could meet every half decade or so, in different locations around the globe, for a conference on political affairs, international relations and, of course, the Games. These competitions, unlike real warfare, could be written about in great detail, televised, discussed on radio programs,and pictured in newspapers everywhere.

There would be no need for the media to censor their coverage because no one would be killed, hurt or maimed by another. The world could watch interactively and cheer their country on – cheer their athletes on.

This event would demonstrate to the people of the planet the full capability of the human body, mind and spirit.

Heroes would emerge, athletes who ended century long arguments and conflicts by running a 45 second 400 meter hurdle race. This event would remind the people of the world of their primal animal nature.

Tension would build exponentially as the brackets narrowed and winners began to emerge victorious, and losers began to surface defeated. Not only would the intensity of the games rest on the success (or lack thereof) of the athletes, built also upon the political climate of international relations and longstanding rivalries between nations.

The semi-annual competition could be a time-honored tradition carried on by human beings for the rest of our history.

War, on the other hand, is not a tradition we can uphold indefinitely. A Dr. Albert Einstein put it most eloquently when he said, “I know not what weapons World War III will be fought with, but I know World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

History has proved that when we settle our differences through violence and warfare, the result will always leave humanity wounded (emotionally and physically).

I fear for a future without the means to settle arguments peacefully. This idea of a grand competition would, in essence, eliminate the need for nations to go to war. It would promote health, fitness and friendly competition while simultaneously solving world problems and arguments.

Peace on Earth through healthy, active contest — if only we lived in such a world.

The 2012 London Olympic Games began last with the opening ceremonies, and will continue to Aug. 12. The Olympics are one of the most important traditions in history because it brings our world together under a single roof.

Perhaps it is overly optimistic to hope for an Olympic games that could bring us so close to world peace, but a man can dream. Much love to all the heroes and athletes competing out there, and best of luck!

Will Brendza is a Gypsum resident.


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