In recent days there have been Nobel Prizes handed out for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. But not sport. Never sport.
In the 113 years since they started bestowing these lofty awards on ‘those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind’, not once have they named a Nobel Laureate for Sport.
Why not? Apart from the fact that Alfred Nobel didn’t specify it in his will. Seriously people, are we going to allow ourselves to be dictated to by a long departed well-to-do sports wowser?
Nothing benefits mankind more than sport. Those who practise it get fit and healthy. If they’re good enough, they may even be exposed to the world of chemistry that the Nobel Committee prizes so highly.
Sport encourages teamwork and working together for the greater good, qualities admirably demonstrated in the dressing rooms of the English cricket team and our own Wallabies squad.
It’s a tool, if a little ad hoc, for fighting poverty. Many poor illiterates have become rich illiterates, purely on their ability to run fast, kick a ball well or beat the crap out of another human being.
There is also the greater economic benefit provided to soft drink, fast food and alcohol companies associating their brands so congruously with the pursuit of good health. And the windfall which awaits any country that secures the right to host an Olympic Games or World Cup.
International sports competition bonds a nation. Just like war. But here’s the clincher. Sport is an instrument for world peace. Sepp Blatter says so. Only a few months ago, he was single-handedly trying to fix the Middle East.
“The problems between Israel and Palestine have been going on for more than 50 years and it would not be possible for us to solve them in one year,” he said days before the World Cup. “But we have made positive first steps.”
Quite what those positive steps are, no one knows. Sepp’s call for a universal truce for the duration of the World Cup was drowned out by gunfire. And his sideline gig as a peace broker got the wobbles aesthetically when two of the three doves released at the opening event crashed into the stands and carked it. But hey, it’s the platitudes that count.
Now, I know the Nobel Prize is a big deal. This year’s winners have been celebrated for such things as LED lighting, developing the microscopic means to see tiny, tiny, tiny things like Sepp Blatter’s IQ and cracking the brain’s navigation system.
So we can’t dish out a Nobel Prize for Sport for something trivial like winning a race. But there are still plenty of worthy contenders.
There’s Sepp, head of his very own United Nations.
Then there’s NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Look at what he’s achieved this year in raising public awareness of domestic violence, without even trying.
Bernie Ecclestone might be considered for making Formula One so environmentally friendly. Sure, the fuel burned in one race could power my car for five years but let’s not quibble over petty details.
And what about Lance Armstrong, who donated his body to science for the duration of his cycling career. Is that not the kind of selflessness that is Nobel worthy?
I’m sure there are heaps of others we can think of. So let me know your nominations and I’ll get on the blower to Sweden and see if we can make this happen.
Leave your nominations in the Comments section