The Olympic Games are here and already, they are half way done. Medals have been given with the winners standing on the podiums to receive their accolades and hear their national anthems. I must admit, I’ve been watching. Swimming, gymnastics, soccer (football), and rugby are just some of the sports I’ve watched.
I’m fascinated with the games. They only happen every four years and for most of the sports, it is their only place to shine before the world. Forget basketball, golf and tennis. The athletes who participate in these sports have somewhere to go after the games and earn a living playing their sport.
What about archery, Track and Field, Handball, and Field Hockey? Let’s not forget swimming and gymnastics after all. Where do these athletes go after the games. Is there such a thing as a professional field hockey league? How about a professional archery league, or any of them. Nope. The only way they can make a living and still play in their sport is through endorsements. If you’re lucky enough to someone to sign on and endorse you.
As I was thinking about the Olympic Games, I couldn’t help but compare them to the games that are routinely played at the Community Celebrations in the ‘Mona Bendarova Adventures’. Set in a post-apocalyptic world millennia in the future, Mona’s community knows the value of competing in games. The difference of course is the her games are decided not on wins and losses but life and death. Winners live, losers don’t. It’s that simple.
As I think about the games, I can’t help be relate them to the real life gladiatorial games of the roman era or the fictional games brought to life in ‘The Hunger Games’. Contestants fought to win and stay alive. Most failed and died on the field of play. The same is true in Mona’s world. Who would have thought that dance competitions were waged with a noose around one’s neck and the winner is the sole survivor. Many stories in the past have hosted hunting games, where the prey are people. In Mona’s world, they too have a similar hunt, only the prey are released arms bound and naked knowing full well that they will not survive.
Yet, why do they do it? To continue to comparison, in Mona’s world instead of country competing between country, it’s house estates against other house estates. They compete for the honor it will bring their house, where their family lives. They also know that their deaths will not be wasted. Their bodies will be converted to feed their families. It is the way of things in her world and they all accept it as a natural order of things.
Really though? Why do they willingly go off and compete in these games? I’ll tell you. It’s a far better fate than being one of thousands, transported to a conversion procession center that is no different from a slaughterhouse. At least this way, they can use every means possible to win and survive. Afterall, it is possible to win and survive. Just ask Julie in ‘Broken Steele’. She wins her dance competition. Which means, she lives to see tomorrow and feast upon the meat of her competitors. Now that’s a gold medal in of itself.