Gavel Gamut: By Judge Jim Redwine
Peg and I have been watching the Olympics; actually, since we turn them on about 8:00 p.m. when we go to bed, Peg is the only one who sees anything. And she hears nothing, or so she claims, due to the droning next to her.
Be that as it may, I have noticed the Olympics is becoming much like Merlin; instead of the contestants aging they youthen. Female gymnasts appear to best represent today’s fierce competitors. Their average age is about fifteen, or so it seems to me.
And what we might call child abuse in court is called going for the gold. I don’t know about you, but if some large older person had ordered me at age fifteen to do a back flip on a four inch wide balance beam, I would have turned them in to the Department of Family and Children Services. Such activities are far scarier than playing football or boxing. How do they avoid landing on their heads or cracking their backs?
Then there are the all-knowing and highly critical analysts who critique these children courting danger. If a gymnast steps one inch out of bounds or bobbles slightly on a landing, these experts (who are almost always has-been gymnasts) pounce on these prepubescent punching bags with feigned concern and obvious glee.
But, in the analysts’ defense it should be noted they usually are left-overs from the last Olympics so some of them are not old enough to vote either. Do you really identify with these eighth graders competing in and commenting on events the ancient Greeks modified from war? Do the names Althea Gibson and Jesse Owens and Jim Thorpe even come to mind? Alas, I know these folks have all passed on. But before they left us, they had, at least, reached adulthood before being placed in adult situations at the Olympic Games.
When I watch these young girls cry upon not achieving everlasting fame I think the old folks who put them in these paradoxical situations should, at a minimum, provide some consolation prizes; perhaps a GI Joe or Barbie Doll might be appropriate.