In the usual post-Olympic sports news coverage there was the predictable commentary about over-commercialization of the Olympic movement and corruption of the Olympic ideal. Is this really what the Greeks intended?
Of course not.
But really, what do we do today that has any resemblance to what we intended a century ago when the “modern” Olympic movement was resurrected, much less to what was intended 27 centuries earlier when the ancient Olympics began?
But at least one thing with ancient Greek roots remains unchanged. It is this.
Plato, student of Socrates, mentor of Aristotle and founder of the “academy” in Athens during the heyday of the ancient OIympics, wrote that more can be learned about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.
That has not changed.
And that is one very important of very many reasons why play of a competitive nature – not mere recreation – matters, just as much today as 28 centuries ago. In fact, in this “modern” world of nonstop electronic conversation, the hour of physical engagement between people may be our most revealing communication.