Happy Colonial-Commonwealth Games!
Ah, the Commonwealth Games. This may come as a surprise, but I absolutely love them. More so than the Olympics. Sure, they’re the result of a dark and murderous history, but we win lots of stuff, so I dig them – even if the other half of that ‘we’ doesn’t know I exist and would likely summon security if I ever approached them in a bar.
Make no mistake, I know they are meaningless, but that’s part of the appeal. It’s all the joy without the anxiety and, perhaps perfectly, this time they are being held on the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast is the universal capital of vacuous bullshit. Some might argue that Los Angeles lays claim to that title, but at least LA has a handful of discernibly talented people. The Gold Coast has nothing, apart from a (self-proclaimed) reputation for stunning bikini babes and great waves. Look a bit closer though and those ‘babes’ are more plastic than flesh and those waves are overcrowded and full of (self-proclaimed) “semi-pro” wankers.
These Games could be the best thing that ever happened to the GC. They may not have organised enough trains to get people to the events, but that’s fine, we don’t expect them to do a good job. It would be a happy surprise if they did. Even then, they won’t get much credit for it. You don’t get celebrated for doing what you’re supposed to do.
Assuming no stadiums collapse, the Games will largely be judged by the Australian public on how many gold medals we win and whether or not we beat the English. I acknowledge nationalism is a dangerous thing – it’s a coin toss between it and religion for most deaths caused – but all bets are off when it comes to beating the English. After all, it was their evil tyranny that kicked the whole thing off in the first place and, in fairness, the English don’t even like the English – it is, in fact, their one redeemable trait.
Mild bigotry and the dangers of nationalism aside, winning is addictive, and I enjoy watching Australians win. It’s a happy little rush of adrenaline that the common man, such as myself, doesn’t get too often. It’s why the Commonwealth Games are such a pleasure to watch and so many people are bandwagon supporters (see: Sydney Swans) or play the pokies. This way, at least, you’re not feeding your children’s school fees into a greedy machine. You don’t get the free Minties, but your teeth and your children will thank you in the long run.
Then there is of course the sheer marvel of watching elite human beings doing crazy things. Because no matter what we all say, those folks out there on the track, in the pool and even the ping-pong table, probably do care about winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal. Which is good, because I doubt they’d ever be able to sell it.