Wednesday, July 28, 2021

What Sports Demonstrates About Athleticism and Consent

People much smarter than I have already talked about the importance of protecting one's body and soul, even if you are an athlete, and even or perhaps especially in a pandemic. 
I want to talk about two things: athleticism and consent. 
On the athleticism front I think there is a weird thing that sometimes happens in sports, where we assume the sporting is a prelude. Like obviously so-and-do will win and we're all just here to watch it. Except obviously not, or we could just hand out trophies. Those other folks - sure not all of them expect to win each day, but you don't have to travel across the world and sleep in a strange bed just to run, or swim, or do back flips. 
Sports is about the unexpected. This is why I am fascinated when the weather factors in. The story could and often should be about the folks who had a great day, not just who wasn't. 
On the consent front, one of the most challenging things about consent is that we tell everyone it is an ongoing conversation and yet we don't really mean it. Let me tell a story, I swear is related. 
I had a train ticket and the folks I was visiting said, oh, let's go to breakfast beforehand. In the discussion the night before the cafe at the train station had been mentioned, so I assumed it was an option being considered. That morning there was some texting with one party and some focus on other things. And then it was decided we should breakfast. I mentioned the cafe at the station and was vetoed. Three other options were mentioned, including one that the last time I ate at it took two hours to complete our meal and we were now just over an hour from my train. 
I picked the one closest to the station, when I expressed time concerns, I was told that everything was very close and it was a weekday, nowhere would be busy. 
Well, we got to said place, and there were people standing around near the entrance clearly waiting to be called for a table. 
At this point I rescinded my vote for said place because by the time we got on the list, got a table, it would be too much to expect a packed restaurant to turn over our food that quickly and it would mean eating in a rush. 
So then we (after another attempt at an order and pay first place) we ended up at the train station cafe where we all finished well before the train arrived. 
So, the thing with consent is, you agree to do (or not do) something based on the information and circumstances you are aware of at the time. Sometimes you sleep like crap, sometimes there's way more traffic than you planned for, sometimes once you get there, the things you were expecting aren't as you expected. And we have to be okay with people changing based on new information, even if that information exists inside their own body.