Gongol.com Archives: April 2023

Brian Gongol

April 20, 2023

News Russia banned from basketball track to Olympics

The International Basketball Federation has "decided to not allow the registration of the Russian men's national team in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments 2023", which is how teams get into the Olympics. It's a response to the way that Russia has launched a bloody and wasteful war of aggression against Ukraine. ■ There are those who want to keep sports entirely separate from other affairs. That would be nice, if achievable. But it's an impossibility: Russia has used athletes as propagandists, and one doesn't have to dig deep to find historical cases where sports were used to legitimize the behavior of uncivilized regimes. ■ Sports depend upon people voluntarily observing rules of behavior; at the macro level, you can't defeat your competitors by kneecapping them or poisoning their food. At the micro level, we count upon the regulation of fair play, even when the fouls may be unintentional. ■ It isn't unreasonable to bar the participation of athletes from a country that openly defies the rules of a civilized world order. It's not like imposing a grain embargo (as Russia itself has committed against Ukraine): Sports aren't necessary for life. Sports are trappings of cultures that can observe higher levels of behavior. ■ Just as the United Nations undermines its own legitimacy by leaving Russia in charge of the UN Security Council for the month of April, so too do any international institutions that put the interests of playing nicely (literally) with Russian teams over insisting that bad actions have consequences. In this choice, at least, the world of basketball can hold its head high.

Humor and Good News Hats off to Dolly Parton

Her "Imagination Library" is one of the most remarkable large-scale good works any American has ever put into place. The American Library Association is recognizing her with an honorary lifetime membership in recognition of that work.

News Favorite historical empires

If every young man develops a strange affinity for a bygone empire, then perhaps it's best if the empires in question are relatively benign ones like the Hudson's Bay Company

Humor and Good News The vinyl anniversary

Everyone should exchange vinyl with their spouse at 33 years and 4 months.

@briangongolbot on Twitter