Glasgow in Scotland used to be a place of fun. Relaxed to the extent that most residents there would ask you, ”what’s bothering you” if you move around there with a straight face.
In recent years, it was all smiles and dimples as the trademark so the upcoming Games from July 23 gather steam.
The Games logo: Let’s celebrate together at Festival 2014 sets the pace and all taken together – the World Cup 2014 – showed that the world itself is edging towards sporting activities as one of the surest way of ensuring safety in the face of competing hostilities and near threats of war in a world currently sucked up by disasters.
So for some 40 days, nearly 5,000 athletes of all shapes and sizes, color and creed will run, flex their muscles, display their hidden skills in the bid to snatch the gold, silver or bronze cleverly crafted fine grain medals to bring laurels not only to themselves but countries which they will represent. When the starters’ gun go off, anyone of them will either be on the track, in the boxing ring in a pool of chubby waters or flying high over some laden stuffed rubber thinking that they would want to be remembered as ”also ran.”
They would want to have a reward for their years of toil, training and dedication to their sports as said the Chairman of Glasgow 2014, Lord Smith the other day.
So how come the Games have caught on to be the most exposed flagship of sports short of the Olympic Games?
The answer, I would say is right under the foot of every member-nations of the Commonwealth made up of some two billion people and 30 percent of the world’s population. For the Games itself which has sporting activities of known ones as athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling and gymnastics as well as queer ones as triathlon, lawn bowls and aquatics, the endurance of all participants will be tested to the full.
Held every four years, the Games had come through trying and tested times. It was first held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930 where a mere eleven countries took part with only 400 competing athletes with only two known interruptions in 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War.
Between 1930 and 1950, it was known as the British Empire Games and from 1954 and 1966 as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games because at that time, some countries that were part of the empire had gained independence and have become sovereign nations in their own rights. The biggest jump came when the games were rechristened the Commonwealth Games.
The upcoming Games is Scotland’s second coming since 1970. So what are the hopes?
Since it is touted as an instrument for peace and bringing nations together, not necessary restricted to Commonwealth nations, together, there is a cry that all’s well that ends well. That the message will flow that there is need for all to work towards the end to all strife and for peoples and nations to solve their grips not through missile fire but through dialogue.
But one obstacle that can likely hurt the spirit of the games, a friend of mine alerted me the other day, would be athletes skipping the games and disappearing into thin air.
“We’ve already seen it happening with the some 200 Ghanaians seeking asylum after their national team the Black Stars had since been eliminated from the world soccer in Brazil,” my most trusted friend said in an email.
“It can turn the sports clock back,” he warned as he listed some damning points including future visa blockages and all that.
All we can do is hope that it will not get down that far, for if that happens, it would be the spirit of our budding young sportsmen and women that will be sapped to bare bone for they will train through blood, sweat and tears and in the end be left to compete with third and fourth rated runners and boxers.
So don’t let this end note dampen the spirit of whosoever is going to the games. The blazing light continues to shine on the banner – Glasgow, here I come.’
By Rod Mac-Johnson
Monday July 14, 2014