The Last Lap.
1st Floor, Main Library
Although mainly covered in the media over the past weeks and months for various interruptions of weather and wackos, the torch relay has perhaps been the most obvious manifestation of Olympism for the people of the UK. It has brought communities together on the streets to celebrate the achievements of their stalwarts. Even if it, like everything else, has been accompanied, nae overshadowed, by the excessive, slightly unsettling security presence of no-fun running torchguards. But it is this sinister shadow that seems to be appearing more in my thoughts and scribblings of late – much to my usually naively optimistic personality’s regret. Although, having said that such a process has given me some content to tick the Self-Reflection box on my assessor’s mark scheme.
I am torn between my initial love for sport, especially the Olympics, and the practical considerations of putting forward a valid piece of research – a task that seems to necessitate a negative spin. It is this duality that has created my struggle to follow the Proposal to Aim to Objectives to Research to Writing conveyor belt of progress that all the text books outline yet no student I know, or have heard of, has ever managed to stay on. Instead I find myself following tangents and losing focus to my interests and inquisition. Yet recently, as my deadline nears, I find myself disappointed that the practical is winning out over the positive and in doing so bringing down both the quality and mood of my writing.
But I am still bearing my torch and its light is still burning in both my passion for sport and my belief in development. I guess I’m just seeing more things in the flame now than I did before. My research is calling for the IOC to do the same. Meanwhile, another criticism of the torch relay has been the bearers’ keeping of their own torches rather than passing one on as a baton. Whilst such practice has kept the emphasis on the flame which is good, it means stuff has been picked up and dropped off along the way much like I have found with the themes of my research – the original environmental focus being the latest such victim.
This idea of convenient selection, I would argue has fuelled the IOC’s disjuncture between symbolism and message (see previous post). I am sure the symbol-message relationship is the subject of unending abstract philosophical debate far beyond the scope of my measly Masters and above the intellect of my abilities. Yet it is about time the IOC safeguarded their message and their principles in a more benign manner. Don’t guard sponsorship (see Jonathan’s post) and images and copyrights and torches but guard principles by upholding rules on sustainability and enforcing regulations on development interventions. Ok it wouldn’t answer all the questions and there’d always be miscreants but there has to be something left for next year’s Masters students to study, right? Or am I just being a wacko too? Oh look, it’s raining.
Part of my race to the deadline has been put under further [welcome] pressure by my luck at having some tickets to the Games to go to just a week before I hand in. Hopefully this first-hand experience will reignite my optimism and I will make my way to the end without the aid of the elusive conveyor belt. This question of outlook ties in to a brief discussion Jonathan and I had about the tag line of this site (see previous post) as it too is to do with the power of tone. Is it about maximising or minimising is a similar tonal debate to whether it is about lamenting or lauding the IOC’s development efforts.
I doubt anyone at the IOC will read these posts or less still my dissertation yet someone will and if I can light their torch or pass them the baton in this relay then maybe one day it will reach the cauldrons of power and one day the IOC will be the leading light it has the potential and power to be.