Thursday, September 30, 2010

Underthinking Commonwealth

First of all I must lay my cards on the table, I do not understand why we need the commonwealth games. I have never gotten into it, I don't understand it, and to be honest I would be happy if it was gone.
For starters you don't even have to be a real country to attend the commonwealth games. There are only 54 nations in the commonwealth, yet 71 teams attend the games. How you may ask?

"....53,54....fifty-..nah I can't see anymore."

Well for starters Great Britain decides since they are the leader, then they should probably get more than one entry, so for the purpose of the games they seperate not only into the 4 home nations (Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland) but also declare any bit of land not physically attached to the mainland a country (Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man). I mean if they can do that why don't New Zealand send a South Island, North Island, Chatham Island and Stewart Island delegation?

Norman unveils the mascot for the 2010 Chatham Island team
To be fair to the Motherland though, us colonies have joined the party ie NZ with Tokelau, Cook Islands etc and Australia with Norfolk Island. Despite the fact made up countries can compete in these games...
The people of Starwaria are always proud when their team enters the stadium

....we still don't get a great cross section of the world competing at the games

There are more places not highlighted than highlighted.
But that's not the end of it, so we are starting with roughly 20% of the worlds countries. So the talent pool is already severely limited, then the top competitors from nations that are eligible to compete don't because they don't view it as prestigious (Usain Bolt, Caster Semenya, even our own Greg Henderson).
What exactly do you claim to be if you win a commonwealth medal?
I mean for example in weightlifting as far as I can tell the highest ranked commonwealth country is Canada at 16th equal, so at best you are 16th best in the world with a gold in commonwealth. (Presuming of course each country only has one good guy which is unlikely so you maybe barely cracking the top 30)

From a limited number of countries, and out of the people that actually decided to turn up I am the best at my sport
Then some of the other sports they have at the commonwealth games? They have greco-roman wrestling despite the fact neither the Greeks nor the Romans attend the games, they have Judo despite the fact the Japanese aren't there, they have table tennis yet no Chinese. When is the last time you saw a non-Chinese competitive table tennis player? This is second only to being a white sprinter in poor sporting career decisions.

Arthur Spriggs the last competive non-Chinese Tennis player sadly passed in 2003
Out of the other sports that are involved, I think the only one where the commonwealth games is the pinnacle is Lawn Bowls.
I mean the rugby 7's, quite a commonwealth dominated sport is without places like Italy, France, Ireland (real Ireland), Argentina, USA (Shown some promise of late), so hardly the pinnacle of the sport.
The netball, a sport only played in the commonwealth as far as I know, is really only a competition between Australia and NZ, an event that occurs every other Tuesday, just with different made up titles on the line, so hardly pinnacle. Netball in that sense is kind of like WWE where the competitors just decide to which titles to put on the line, imagine if that was the case.....

Okay so its agreed we are competing for the Fisher-Paykell, World Champ, Asia-Pacific Champ, but not the South Pacific or Commonwealth titles?
I mean I don't want to detract from the effort all the athletes and competitors put in, but at the end of the day if you are not good enough to be the best in the world, should you actually be a professional athlete? Perhaps you have underthought your profession?


  1. You seem to be missing the point that this is a competition amongst the commonwealth ... whoever mentioned anything about countries, let alone non-commonwealth ones.

    Should our local highschool not have a sports day because there aren't top level international athletes competing at it?

    PS: Your comment system is annoying. Would be handy if you could setup anonymous commenting.

  2. What is the commonwealth anymore, than an excuse to have these games though?

    Your local high school has a sports day, so the best kids get picked for the city-wide, region-wide teams, from the best of them the best go on to compete for the country.

    Commonwealth games just seems like a waste of time for those competing at international level given there are so many world champs floating around.
    Given that the commonwealth games shares the olympic funding, seems like waste of money too

    I don't know how to alter my comments system

  3. Interesting perspective which I did agree with. But I think the Commonwealth Games should simply be an opportunity for people to get together in a large scale "sports camp". It makes Riverbend look like a baby, but it is more of a fun games. I can't see what the point of introducing tennis is? I wonder if anyone good will be there? It is hardly a Grand Slam event. The netball has some teams like Jamaica and England, but they may not have their best players.

    I look at it as a chance for us to basque in the glory of actually getting some medals. It isn't the pinnacle for most sports, but it sure boosts a nation who want success.

    What about introducing Twenty 20 cricket to the games? Most of the big names would be there.

    Yeah the Commonwealth Games a more like just another competition for a lot of these people standard wise (another IRB series event), but the incentive of getting a Gold medal surely makes this better than another IRB event or an ATP tournament.

    I like the photos you use here, where do you get them?

  4. Yeah valid point on it being a good opportunity for people to get together in "sports camp" style, but i feel that too many of the competitors take themselves to seriously at the comm games, so miss the fun they should be having. I.e the nz team being stuck inside.

    I was think Cricket would be the only sport you could have that all the big names would be there, I don't think anyone would be missing would they?

    I guess it is nice to let people feel like they are doing well, but why do they receive so much high performance sport funding? Since they are not at the pinnacle they shouldn't get any of the high performance funding in my humble opinion.

    Ummmm the photos, I just use google image search (probably not entirely kosher in terms of ownership, don't tell anyone)
    I just think of what I want and look for it, sometimes requires various refinements on the search keywords. Did you know the hardest photo to find was the two netball captains together

  5. Yeah I have given up caring about Google image ownership rights etc. I figure it would be a ridiculously tough job to police.

  6. It's not difficult to police at all. If you get caught and the copyright owner files a DMCA complaint with Blogger, they will likely shut your site down ASAP. I've done this many times before, albeit not with Blogger.

  7. I can see your point but I still think that its a big achievement to get a CWG gold medal in some sports: If you are the best sprinter/swimmer out of all NZ, Aus, South Africa, UK and Canada, Jamaica you are probably a world class sprinter/swimmer. So maybe overall all its a bit of a let-down but there are some moments that are quite significant.

  8. .. never worry about ownership rights unless your making a profit.

    im torn between two worlds on this one Az..

    event opportunities are always welcome, especially nationally honored ones..

    .. but in all seriousness, I was always under the impression that the the Commonwealth Games were derived from the Olympics, and the Olympics were always was suppose to be non-professional sports..

    perhaps the underthinking is much more deep rooted here the you are indicating..

    may i suggest either re-introducing the caber toss, and floating the introduction of Shearing, "Lumberjacking" and Dog Trials.. or tossing the whole sha-bang


    Want to keep Underthinking? Try one these.