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A Mind Game

posted Jun 9, 2012, 11:26 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated Jun 10, 2012, 7:50 PM ]
Posted in Uncategorized 

By Delfin Acosta 


Imagine yourself in the midst of an enormous crowd, a crowd that consists of people from all walks of life, from virtually every nation on earth, all of vastly different opinions, yet every one of them singularly focused upon the days that lie ahead. Does this seem to be unimaginable reality, a unity unheard of in a world plagued by division? Would you imagine that this must be some catastrophic event that affects the entire world? Hardly. Rather you find yourself in the opening ceremony of the Olympics, virtually the only event or organization that can bring so many people together. The Olympics are the pinnacle of human achievement in all things physical, ranging from track and field to swimming. Yet, despite the apparently vast range of activities that qualify as an Olympic sport, one cannot count among them a single purely intellectual sport. Although the Olympic tradition of excluding such events may make it seem like an almost silly idea of introducing one, it is in fact quite an admirable possibility.

Some say that such a game as Chess, could never muster the interest necessary to truly be worthy of the Olympics and may even go against all that the Olympics represent. Yet, these games have always been dominated by a few events that attract the most attention; nonetheless they also include a variety of other far less recognized sports that have their own equally fervent enthusiasts. Also, competition in chess or other mental challenges already exist and have gained considerable popularity. Moreover, the Olympics are defined by one distinctly human trait; perseverance. They are simply another manifestation of the human quest for near-perfection.

In preparation for the Olympics, an athlete will hone his skills and his body to the extreme, reaching unprecedented echelons of strength, endurance, speed, and skill. Such an athlete goes to the event with the intention of breaking every record ever set, of reaching new heights and limits that will awe the present era and inspire future generations to do the same. It is for this reason that an intellectual sport should be included in the Olympics, so that those who have mental endurance and skill may be able to share their talents with the world. In addition, the Greeks originally designed the Olympics around their concept of the ideal person. This represented one who was physically yet also mentally fit. Thus, the addition of such an event would be the fulfillment of the original goals of the Greeks, making the Olympics truly a competition for all of the aspects of a human being. It would bring the sometimes underappreciated intellectual aspect of all sports into a sharper focus, since strategy is often the key to victory in many events, especially those involving a team. Perhaps it may even encourage people to engage in such mental exercises just as they are encouraged by the Olympics to partake in sports.

And now, I must ask, what do the following people have in common: Lavar Errington, Linebacker for the Washington Redskins, Boris Becker, 6-time Grand Slam Winner, Ron Guidry, 1978 Cy Young Award Winner. Is it that they excel as athletes and have been considered the best in their respective sports; most people would answer with a resounding, “Yes” However, I humbly submit to you that being masters of competition and athleticism do not tie them together. Let us be mused to know that all three of these acrobats of athleticism, share in common, the game of chess. These conquering heroes hone their minds in the fashion of military commanders, politicians, and philosophers. And so, including a mental event would in fact fit right into the ancient Greeks hopes of human self improvement, and it may even be a benefit for schools and other educational institutions, as people learn to embrace the intellectual side of life and not merely the physical. One day perhaps the most popular event in the Olympics may turn out to be a battle, not of brawn, but wits with its field being a chessboard.