I read an article today that was all agog at the trash talk going on between the eventual gold and silver medal winners in women’s pole vault. Because, you know, people running down a paved track using a flexible pole to fling themselves skyward don’t have emotions. The whole business of intimidation and gamesmanship is nothing new; I can almost see the conversation coming out of that Battle of Marathon:
Pheidippides: So (puff) here’s the (puff puff) message.
General: You didn’t run all the way here, did you, son?
Pheidippides: (gasps) Yes (hack, cough)
General: Well, that was pretty impressive, I guess. But you’re still slow.
G: In fact, we’ve got this messenger over here who said he’s going to run back with our response, even faster than you! You know, because we’re Athenians.
P: (sinks to ground and dies)
Okay, so it probably didn’t happen that way, but you can see what I mean. As long as we make something competitive — whether athletic, political, or social — and we assign scores and values, someone will quantifiably be the best, and everyone else won’t be. We keep chasing moving targets, and along the way, we’ve got to show off doing it. It just feels like, you know, human nature.
When was the last time you did something unnecessarily, but with style? Yeah, I thought so too.
P.S. New celebrity crush: Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева Woo!