Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Great Divide in Politics and Open Water Swimming

Back in the good ol' days, controversy in swimming tended to center itself over drug testing, Speedo LZR suits and wearing of wetsuits in open water competitions. But, it appears the race directors of the Big Shoulders Swim have taken controversy to a whole new level.

The Big Shoulders Swim in Lake Michigan really stirred up a shark's frenzy over its official race t-shirts and awards judging from the comments on the US Masters Swimming forums.

Photos of the Obama t-shirt and medals are brought to us by Blue Ollie.

Judging from the vehemence shown on the US Masters Swimming forums, whether for, against or indifferent, the race directors have certainly helped demonstrate the great divide between those who support the Democratic Party ticket and those who support the Republican Party ticket.

It is highly probable that this issue will be front and center - at least in the hallways and over meals - by the delegates to the upcoming US Masters Swimming annual convention in Atlanta from September 24-28.

Whether it is America's next President, the Executive Committee of US Masters Swimming or the Big Shoulders race organizers, these individuals will need to do a whole lot of healing, explaining and compromising in the near future for our country and the swimming community to come together again for our collective good.


ollie said...

I've thought about this some. I'll venture a guess: this is a Chicago race, and Obama is something of a local icon and this medal/shirt design is a spoof on that.

Back in 1997, I did a 4 mile running race in Eureka, IL, and that race shirt had Ronald Reagan on it. Again, it was kind of a light heartted spoof on a local icon.

But we are in the midst of a rather hotly contested election, feelings are a bit raw, and well, no easy way to say this, but I can see people saying "there we go again, *(&^!! Chicago politics"!

So, as much as I love the medal and the shirt, it might have been a better idea to stay away from this theme THIS YEAR (as it is an election year) or, if the race folks really wanted to have some fun, offer a choice of a McCain finisher's medal (and/or shirt) or an Obama one. :-)

Frankly, there are enough political junkies like myself that they would have sold out of the extras as I would have bought one of each.

Yes, I back Obama, but I am a bit of a political junkie and get a kick out of spoofs on local icons, be they politicians that I support or those that I don't.

Steven Munatones said...

Perhaps the race organizers could have asked Sarah Palin to fire the start gun for more balance?!?

ollie said...

Fine! :-)

Actually our local Congressional Representative is an avid runner and I often shake his hand and wish him luck prior to a race.

I don't think that he swims though.

ollie said...

ps: Re, Gov. Palin: she is also an endurance athlete (3:59 running marathon, I think) so she would have probably wanted to swim the race.