The Olympics and the Lottery
So the 2012 London Olympics are over!! The Games were very successful: the number of medals won by Team GB coming third behind China, and the US, un-Britishly well- organised, and a great advert for Uk plc beamed to millions of people all over the planet. The feel good factor was felt up and down the land creating a welcome distraction to the economy and euro crisis. Team GB’s success was down to the determination and commitment of the athletes, and also to the funding received by the Big Lottery.
People with dreams funding people with dreams.
People playing the Lottery pay for a chance to escape their lives by hoping for overnight wealth which is unearned, and some would say undeserved. Lottery players are funding the dreams of athletes, going for gold, working hard, committed to long hours of practice, to peak their performance in a two week time frame. At face value Lottery players are deemed less worthy than Olympic athletes. The athletes have a purpose, a goal to pursue, supported by a history of Olympic tradition which transcends the everyday to the exceptional, to be the best in the world, to be in the sporting elite.
Under closer scrutiny the difference between Lottery players and Athletes lessens.
Both are going for gold.
The idea of competing being the ultimate Olympic ideal wears thin, with the focus on medal winners, and spectators forgetting athletes who come second. The sponsorship available for an athlete who wins gold is like winning the Lottery. Millions of pounds suddenly become available to athletes particularly in new events who have scraped a living to train and compete in the Olympics.
The Big Lottery has funded Team GB: but it is has a dark side. It corrodes our thinking about money, status and being satisfied. The smart people who have made fortunes are giving it away: having gained the wisdom that money without purpose is a recipe for disaster. For Lottery players the wish for enormous wealth far outweighs the danger underneath. Imagine giving your family and friends a million pounds each, or not! Would your relationships be the same? Yet it is not an argument.
Like countries are on the verge of creating wealth for their populations, consumerism and materialism have to be experienced for a length of time before the downsides are appreciated. The evidence of Lottery winners having miserable lives after their winning is not convincing.
Europe has understood for a time now the downside of wealth, but still holds onto it. The randomness and cruelty of the open market creating powerful international financial forces, that governments have little control over. The rise of the importance of the individual: the unhappiness and dis-satisfaction in the West with an increasing population suffering from depression and anxiety.
There is also a dark side to the Olympics. Exercise creates a mood and chemicals in the body that can make the person feel happy. Exercise is good for us. To use the jargon: it enhances our physical and mental well- being.
Yet if anyone went to their GP describing an obsessional activity, lasting over a period of four years, which took them away from themselves, families and friends would demand a treatment plan. Yet this is the life of an athlete: obsessional, driven and addictively intent on a single goal: and most importantly a goal which is highly revered and rewarded in the world of 2012. When athletes were asked continually about their feelings on winning there were stock responses: unbelievable, fantastic, incredible!! What else could they say? But perhaps exercise at an extreme level avoids extreme feelings underneath. The sight of previous medal winners commentating on the events gave the impression of a one dimensional being expert in extreme exercise holding back complex difficult feelings.
Again the message is the same from the Lottery player and the Athlete:
give me a large reward for the avoidance of me: I don’t like me, it hurts.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2012
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Disclaimer: This weblog content are the views of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.