Thursday 30 August 2012

and thank the Creator you're not in the state I'm in...

I watched the Paralympic opening ceremony last night.

Now, on the whole I don't really like to think of myself as an especially emotional man, and I think my schooling did a pretty effective job of teaching me to keep my emotions under wraps.  It's true that, as I get older, I find myself wiping away the beginnings of the odd tear as I'm watching a film or the end of the Secret Millionaire or something... but I reckon that I've got as stiff an upper lip as the next Englishman.  That said, the Olympics frequently had me in bits.  All that endeavour and sacrifice, and those unforgettable moments of sportsmanship and/or raw emotion.  It's inspiring and humbling all at the same time.  If that footage of Gemma Gibbons looking up to the skies and telling her dead mother that she loves her doesn't bring a tear to your eye, then you've got a heart of stone.

The Paralympics.... well, I find the Paralympics to be even more moving.   As a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit against all odds and all adversity, the Paralympics are surely unsurpassed.  

The opening ceremony, for me, seemed to hit mostly the right notes: it celebrated mankind and our potential, and it exulted in science and in literature and in mankind's achievements.  We had Stephen Hawking acting as the very embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit over the weakness and frailty of the body, and we had Gandalf himself quoting Shakespeare and saying how books were humanity in print.  We even had a performance of Ian Dury's defiant, joyous "Spasticus (Autisticus)".  It was fantastic.

I did read a tweet from the BBC's Dan Walker last night that - a touch sourly, I thought - said:

Gold medal: paralympic opening ceremony (despite a little humanistic waffle) Silver: Laura Robson Bronze: Real Madrid

Dan is usually a pretty reliable, up-beat kind of guy.  I know he's a christian and a regular church-goer, and I know that I'm an atheist.... but I didn't see anything in that ceremony that ought to have threatened anyone's religious beliefs.  Humanistic waffle?  Really?  How is a celebration of mankind's achievements incompatible with a God?  I don't get it.


I've got tickets for the Olympic Park this weekend: some swimming on Saturday morning and both sessions of the stadium, and I'm also hoping to use my ground passes to see things like the tennis, goalball, basketball and anything else that is going on.  I can't wait.

It's going to be amazing, and I absolutely love that we are making such a big deal of these games. They're amazing.

O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! Oh brave new world that has such people in it.

The Olympics were great, but the Paralympics are - for me - so much more inspiring

1 comment:

  1. I'll look forward to your posts. Sadly the Paralympics don't get the coverage here that the Olympics get.