Friday, January 27, 2006

Never Again

The Olympics are coming in a couple of weeks.

People all over the world will be following their athletes as they try to show everyone that they are better than anyone else. Millions of American viewers will be tuned to NBC to watch our young men and woman compete on the world stage.

Except me.

With the exception of two different times, I have not watched even 30 seconds of any Olympic event in 34 years and I'm not planning to deviate from that anytime soon.

I happened upon a tape delay of the U.S. - Soviet hockey semi-final ("do you believe in miracles? Yes!") game, in 1980 and I was at a department store when I saw Michael Spinks win the gold medal in Boxing.

But that's it.

I'd like to say it's because I'm just not interested in the athletes or the particular games played. I mean, I really don't care to watch speed skating or skiing and bobsleds aren't sport - their suicide. But that's not really the case.

No, unless you already figured it out, I can tell you it isn't anything like that.

The reason I don't watch the Olympics is because of Munich.

I was 10 years old when the 1972 Olympiad took stage in Germany. Until then, I - like a lot of my friends and family - were excited when the games came on. It had been 4 years since the previous one and with the explosion in TV sports, it seemed the whole world was watching little Olga Korbut amaze us with her grace and agility. We even had our own hero. Before the Olympics began, few - if anyone - knew who Mark Spitz was. But he quickly became a legend in every Jewish home.

Then the impossible happened. Before our very eyes, the very athletes we were watching and rooting for became victims of Palestinian terror.

You know what's strange is that until then, know one ever called it "Palestinian" terror before then. But now, we all caught a glimpse of what Israeli's had (and continue to have) been exposed to on a regular basis.

Prior to that day, Israel was looked upon as a shining light that overcame exceptional odds to defeat her enemies in under a week during the Six-Day War, just 5 years earlier. My parents and one of my brothers had just travelled to Israel two months earlier and were impressed by how peaceful it seemed.

But the massacre of the Israeli athletes is not the reason I stay away from the games. After all, it was just a bunch of animals who killed our people, not the games (or other athletes) themselves. Boycotting the games for that would be tantamount to boycotting the Super Bowl because someone was stabbed while watching a Bud Light halftime commercial.

No, the reason I won't watch is because of one comment. One unbelievably morose remark by the IOC President, Avery Brundage. Just a few hours after the dead were sent back to Israel, Brundage proclaimed, "The games must go on".

I don't mean to condemn the continuation of the games. But to announce that, only hours after the murder of 11 innocent participants, showed not only a lack of remorse, but also a lack of decency.

Aside from the fact that Germany, the host country and the nation that needed to show the world (and certainly the Jewish people) that it had competely disassociated itself with it's recent past, should have taken a more empethetic approach, the IOC should have been even more greatly devastated.

Imagine the outcry if just one Arab athlete had been killed by an Israeli (or by anyone else, for that matter). Leaders from all over the world would villify the murderer and the country responsible. Certainly, the bin Ladins of the world would call for a "jihad" and vow immediate revenge, culminating in many innocent deaths.

But, in 1972, the Jews learned a very disturbing truth. When it comes to the Jews, blood is cheap. We saw for the first time that the lives of Jews are worthless in comparison to playing a game. Unfortunately, for me and my people, we learned first-hand what the world thought of us.

It was a real slap in the face.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not ready to turn the other cheek. In this day and age, with the current world agenda of appeasement towards Arab terror, the other cheek will only get slapped one more time.

No thanks, NBC. Never again, IOC.

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