Short Story: A Sporting Chance

Nations pushed to the brink turn to sport as a nonviolent alternative to conventional warfare. When the rest of the world follows suit, does it change the course of human history for the better?

August 18th, 2021

Thank you for joining us.

In tonight’s news, the long-running war between the nations of Upper and Lower Mongolia seems to have finally run out of steam. Both leaders have claimed to have run dry of their weapons stockpiles and are asking the international community for aid, but all major powers have made abundantly clear that military assistance of either of these two powers would go against their principles.

Critics have dismissed these stances as excuses, blaming the international community’s lack of interest due to small nation’s lack of resources and general poverty.

~

November 9th, 2028

And now to our top story this week; the former presidents of the once-divided Mongolia addressed the UN, giving an impassioned plea for the nations of the world to find an alternative to war.

“From opposing sides, the land that we shared was soaked with the blood of our people, and even now, our united nation has nothing to show for it. Even as members of our current government continue to argue on the root cause of this rift, we both know that another war would ravage our culture beyond repair.”

In response to the plea, Javelin Armories CEO Niles Santiago has publicly responded with scepticism, saying that war is the end result of all failed relations.

“Now, I’m sure we all want a peaceful world. But in all honesty, that’s just not possible. The most that we can hope for is a safe world. And we all know there’s only one way for both countries and people to be kept safe from outside threats.”

(“So you are committed to your line of business in spite of trends, then?”)

“Heh… Well, I’ll be okay with holding hands and singing Kumbayah once I see real results. Peace!”

~

January 3rd, 2029

Breaking news, Javelin Armories CEO Niles Santiago has been arrested under suspicion of numerous charges, including soliciting minors. Santiago is the fourth arms company executive in the past month to be placed under suspicion in the past five months, leaving military contracts harder and harder to come by for the world’s major powers.

~

January 9th, 2029

So this is something I’ve put off for far too long. It’s about the people who for decades have kept us safe from the wolves clawing at our door. I’m of course talking about this SMEAR campaign by bleeding-heart traitors to make sure our nation is rendered absolutely TOOTHLESS!! Toothless for God-knows-what to swoop down upon us and reduce us to passive, simpering, braindead eunuchs!

That is why I ask of you, my fellow Americans, to support not only our men in uniform but any and all lines of defence! Call now and, for the VERY effective sum of $160, YOU can assist me in keeping our borders and homes safe by funding an investigation into suspicious parties. I know you’d like to know who I’m referring to, but it has to stay secret for now for the sake of this investigation.

Just trust me. Don’t leave your safety to chance: CALL NOW!

Comments to the above:

“Oh, never change, you crazy melon man… :P”

“Half my family is in the armed forces. If things get as bad as they seem, we’ll be forced out onto the streets! Can you take double donations? I’ll take eight!”

“lol anyone who thinks this is real deserves a stay in the poor house”

“Justice4Santiago4Prez”

TheyTookRJerbs.gif

~

June 5th, 2030

Interview Transcript

Laura Hunter, CNA anchor: Mr: Wheeler, several parties have made note of your relationship with the president and have worried that you may be trying to use him to advance your agenda. What do you have to say to that?

Bill Wheeler, Pax Gaia CEO: Well Laura, when you get down to it, our roles aren’t that different. Companies like Pax Gaia answer to our customers, in the same way that President Flynn has to answer to his voters as the leader of a democracy, and in that way, I feel we can both learn from each other to reach and represent more hearts and minds.

LH: So you don’t deny the accusations?

BW: No, because my so-called ‘agenda’ isn’t some nefarious scheme to line my pockets. We’ve been through this song and dance plenty of times. I’m rich enough as it is, and I’m sure Bryce Flynn doesn’t want to bother risking an impeachable offence.

LH: Well then, if you’re so certain about your good intentions, do you have anything specific you want to share with our viewers right now?

BW: I’d say that, going back to reaching hearts and minds, one of my main goals is to encourage the President to, not literally of course, make his decisions easier to sell. For example, making a viable alternative to the use of our dwindling military power in our future dealings with hostile foreign powers.

~

October 19th, 2032

In a shocking display of events, two of the world’s longest rivalries is coming to a head. But not through a show of arms, as has so often been seen, but through sport. Last week, Pakistani President Yousaf Sharif issued an offer to the President of India in the name of settling a border dispute: a game of field hockey, with the winning country owning claim over the disputed area. The offer comes in light of Pakistan’s unprecedented success in last years Olympic games in Paris.

President Flynn, German Chancellor Brandt, along with the Prime Ministers of Canada, Japan, and Australia have praised Pakistan’s nonviolent approach to the situation, along with the general public in both rival countries. Indian pundits have mocked the offer, calling it childish, as well as a sign of Pakistan’s military desperation.

Today, Indian Prime Minister Indira Rao has issued a statement from the President accepting the challenge, citing the sport as a shared passion between the two countries.

Despite confusion among cricket fans, the field hockey is regarded by both countries as their national sport. Despite not being the most popular, both Pakistani and Indian officials have said that the use of field hockey will give the match the authenticity needed for the situation.

The two leaders have yet to specify a date or location for the match.

~

March 30th, 2045

… which means it’s time for our seventh annual recap of:

NEO!

MARCH!

MADNESS!!

[Crowd cheers]

Woo! Alright, so to start off, the Balkan clusterfuck continues with Serbia getting swallowed up by the recently-reformed by the fat cats with the mean right hook, Montenegro. Bosnia tried to go after Herzeia, only to get wiped off the map by the Govinian hockey team. Macedonia’s stayed the same if only cause your reaction to that sentence is “that’s still a country?”

[Audience laughs]

Honestly, my heart goes out to the poor guys making team jerseys that are just gonna get thrown out in a month or two.

“Hey, Niko, what team is this jersey from?”

“Ugh. Who cares, Darko? That team’s so yesterday.”

[Audience laughs]

Hahaha… Moving further south, North and South Sudan continue to play the role of exes who can’t keep out of each other’s shit. Really, they should just learn from the United Republic of Congo and just move in together. South Africa, meanwhile has continued to ignore the rest of the continent, not wanting to spite Nelson Mandela’s ghost even more after that Invictus remake.

[Audience laughs]

And finally, we have South Asia. India, a country so fat with people, they added an extra notch to its belt called Sri Lanka, keeps gambling away the spits of open land it’s still got in the hopes of winning big with Pakistan. Honestly, President Singh, you should leave your gambling time in Vegas.

[Audience cheers]

And finally, Taiwan and Thailand are gearing up for their winner-take-all game this weekend. No matter which country loses, we all know who wins:

EVERYONE!

[Audience cheers]

I don’t care if one of you doesn’t have an “h” in their name, getting you mixed up makes me sound like some white trash plumber!

[Audience laughs]

And Thailand, if you don’t appreciate my tone: FUCK YOU!

[Audience “Oooohh…”s]

That’s what you get for changing your name from Siam!

[Audience cheers]

Thank you! And we’ll see you next year for another round of:

NEO!

MARCH!

MADNESS!!!

[Crowd cheers]

~

November 8th, 2056

In a historic landslide election, American sport hero Max Walker has won the presidential election! The basketball specialist began his political career after his retirement following his successful coaching leading to the reunification of the Sudan. His supporters flocked to him in droves due to his so-called personification of the American dream, while his detractors see him as unpresidential and an arrogant celebrity.

President-elect Walker has dismissed these critics, calling them “jealous” and “haters.”

As per tradition, Senator Jackson has congratulated his opponent on his victory, but has declined to comment on the President-elect’s controversial reaction or his own plans for the future.

In related news, the annexed region of Canada has reissued its demands for independence. The previous request lost momentum after the committee fell into disagreement over which sport would be used to decide their fate.

~

November 22nd, 2063

In a tragic turn of events, one of the rising stars in the field of Soccer has been found dead in what local authorities have been quick to call an assassination. Japan’s Takaya Abe was found dead in his hotel room weeks after announcing his diplomatic loan to South Korea’s team, presumably for an upcoming match against the North.

His death has left many wondering if what was once called sport, considered a peaceful alternative to armed conflict, has become more serious than its worth. Skeptics of the trend have reiterated that the high stakes involved have been, and always shall be, a danger to those involved.

~

August 28th, 2070

“This isn’t a game.” It was those words that President Harris used to close tonight’s press conference, announcing that the upcoming match between the US and Colombia would not be open to the public. The announcement comes in the wake of last night’s bombing of the Walker memorial stadium, along with rising tensions within the international community.

In other news, Switzerland’s obesity rate has reached a record high, which the country’s prime minister attributes to state-discouraged exercise and other “provocative” athletic activities. The nation’s proud tradition of neutrality has made it the most consistently bordered nation in the world.

~

June 13th, 2089

The world breathes a sigh of relief tonight as North Korea has decommissioned its last remaining superathlete. The move comes as what experts are calling the prelude to a reunification once thought unthinkable. Chairman Kim Jong-Gi has continued his brand of open communication, issuing the following statement:

“With this act, we, the people of the Republic of Korea, give something once so harmless as sport a chance to fade away into distant memory and rise from its ashes, free from the trappings of human squabble.”

Kim Jong-Gi’s stance on athletic actions has surprised the international community in the past, passing the UN inspections on their rumoured steroid stockpile, as well as a highly-publicized auction of his family’s personal athletic equipment.

~

July 28th, 2100

So, our last story this week is actually today’s news. The Olympic Games, for the first time in decades, held in the same city as the UN.

Athletes from every single nation on this earth have joined together in footracing, cycling, boating, archery, judo, e-sports, all of it with no stakes. Not for the gain of their country, but for fun. And really, if there was ever a sign of victory for sanity, that’s it right there.

You see, when India and Pakistan had gotten tired of killing each other over something even the history books don’t care about, they decided to use a bloodless competition to sort out their issues. The people of back then saw it as a breath of fresh air, enlightened even, but they had no idea what they had done to the world of sport.

You see, when sport became the standard way to settle international relations, they only ended up making disputes even easier to start, and in doing so, made sport itself a more serious thing.

Albert Einstein once said, “As long as there are men, there will be wars.” And he was right. Even if the people deciding the fates of their countries were armed with balls instead of bullets, the matter was still serious enough that people ended up getting killed, and victors were deified and given stuff they just plain didn’t deserve. Just two presidents ago, it was considered unappealing for a politician to hold an actual degree in political science!

And what better way to illustrate this madness than who brought about its end. North Korea, once feared as the madman with their thumb on the detonator, were the ones to give up on expansion and break their star athlete’s arm to prove it. The former crown jewel in the exhibit of “How NOT to Country” shamed the rest of the world into world peace.

Except for Switzerland, of course, but they never surprised anybody.

So here we are, with sports now allowed to be the fun, guilt-free pastime that brings people together instead of dictating what separates them.

Honestly, if I was there when it started, and I knew what it would lead to…

I would have rather we kept killing each other. At least then we knew it was wrong.

[Crowd applauds]

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