A Sports Fable

Essays, Fiction, Short Story

A long long time ago in a land far far away, a child picked up a stone and threw it across a field. A second child that was with the first also picked up a stone and threw it and his went further. The two of them laughed in delight and continued picking up stones to see who could throw theirs further. This game became a tradition and was passed on from generation to generation and was a source of great delight and friendship between siblings families and tribes for many years.
One day a child was discovered to be exceptionally talented at the throwing stones game. People came from all around to see her throw and try their hand at beating her but she was always the best. Seeing her throw soon became a spectacle and people traveled for miles to witness the poise, grace, strength, and subtle technique that made her stones always traveled farther. 

Later, it came to pass that one of the people who saw her throw was so impressed by her talent, that he decided to dedicate his entire life to gaining the ability to throw stones farther than anyone else. Oddly enough no one thought this a strange way to spend your life so people supported and encouraged him in his quest. Again and again he challenged the champion stone thrower and not long after dedicating all his time and energy to the task, he defeated the champion in a stone throwing contest. The defeated champion laughed shook hands with the new champion and went on with her life. She still threw stones and enjoyed it, but the spectacle was over (somewhat to her relief actually).

The new champion basked in the attention and spectacle of being the farthest stone thrower until one day, another decided to also dedicate their life to stone throwing. This one seemed to have more natural talent than the new champion (although arguably not as much as the first) and soon this new challenger defeated the second champion and became the third.

The second was furious and shouted that the third had used tricks like taking a step forward so their throw really wasn’t that far, and anyway that first throw really wasn’t a tie – his was further by at least a finger width. Some people laughed but many of the people were so dismayed at the argument that they consulted the elders – who said they were too busy dealing with issues like the current famine and the overly aggressive tribe to the north – so the people came together and held a counsel to determine what the rules should be for throwing stones. They even consulted the first champion but she was busy with her life and told them she didn’t really care.

Soon the counsel came up with a set of rules and the contests continued with more and more individuals deciding to dedicate their lives to throwing stones (which were now of regulated weight and dimensions).

Occasionally someone would be born with a natural talent for throwing stones, but there were always so many that dedicated all their time and energy to it that competition was fierce, and unless one had a passion for throwing stones, you were called things like “amateur” or “hobbiest” or “not really serious about throwing stones.” Thus it was that throwing stones went from something fun for friends to do together, to a fiercely competitive career complete with rules and regulations and – as time went on – legal battles, social upheaval, betrayals, and tragedy of all kinds. 

Over throwing rocks. 

Because it was fun one time. 

And this is why I don’t like “sports.”