Saturday, April 9, 2011

Playing Politics

Whoever says Sports & Politics are not related must be living on another planet. Sports and Politics are two separate entities that have close unified ties and are very much connected on many different levels. The intersection of sports and politics, or more specifically the use of sports metaphors when discussing politics, is a common focus of writers and commentators. The words "comeback", "dynasty", "play" and others are used frequently in both fields. Such usage is often predictable and lazy, but occasionally the sports analogy is pertinent when discussing a political issue. In addition to that, sports performance is a mirror reflection of the political stability of a nation.
There is no question that sports and politics are linked in how they are analyzed. Politics is often referred to as one of America's great sports, and followers of politics and sports use similar analytical methods, mainly stats, to augment and clarify points.
After all, as in sports, winning is all that matters in elections. Having said that, many Bahraini Athletes have been dismissed and sacked for participating in anti-government protests that took place at the sight of the once standing Pearl Roundabout. Their political attendance provoked outcries from fans and pundits against mixing sports with politics. These athletes have spoken on matters of public controversy, missed work, and attended the protest several times which are displayed as an unworthy sense of civil disobedience. 
Ala'a Hubail and his brother Mohammed have been fired from Bahrain's National Soccer Team. The dismissal followed a Bahrain TV broadcast that showed the brothers among anti-government demonstrators. These players along with many of their fellow anti-government athletes have clearly showed their disloyalty to the government despite them being presented with homes, cars, BD 7000 (US 20,000) per international game win or lose by the same government they were opposing. One of them was nicknamed Golden Boy for being the first Bahraini to win the Golden Boot award for scoring 5 goals during the 2004 Beijing Asian Cup. S.Adnan, the notorious player known for missing a penalty against New Zealand's World Cup Qualifications game said "he didn't mean to be there". Standing up against the government who feeds them, isn't at all a reason to be there in the first place. While Ala'a Hubail stated that "he didn't know he was standing in front of a banner that clearly read Death to Al Khalifa and Down with the government". These false claims made by both once loved players of the national team were a disgrace and a disappointment to their diehard fans.
A good sports team reflects on the political stability of its country. When a country is stable, secure and safe, it will affect the morale of a team, which was the reason Al Ahli Soccer Club pulled out of GCC Club Championships, saying that the protests have prevented many of their players from attending training sessions.
Moving on to an international example, the Munich massacre, which is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually murdered by the Islamic terrorist group Black September. Members of Black September contended that Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization secretly endorsed the operation. By the end of the ordeal, the terrorists had killed 11 Israeli athletes, coach and 1 German Police Officer. Five of the eight members of Black September were killed by police officers  during a failed rescue attempt. Israel responded to the massacre with Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God as well as a series of airstrikes and killings of those suspected of planning the kidnappings. So, whoever says sports and politics are not related, is mistaken, history has long seen many correlations between the two.
Of course, for some, sports are an all-consuming, year round participatory experience. There's nary a month without something to watch for fans who follow several sports. In the end, it's probably a good thing for those who follow politics and sports with equal interest that the national council of representatives elections occurs every four years. It would likely be too much to take on an annual basis. ­­­­
Brave Bahrain

No comments:

Post a Comment