What impact does it have upon children when we boo and jeer sports
competitors because of their politics? At the French Open
jeering Serena Williams was an act of Terror. Lance
Armstrong faces riding over 2,000 miles in France. Will he be
booed and jeered? And, what about Americans denying French
school children access to a summer exchange program? Is that
breeding new babies of Terror? Find out.
9, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 635
Terrorizing Tennis, Cycling & School
Children Breeds New Beasts Of Terror
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, New York--June 9,
2003-- It's hard enough to win a world championship against the best
competition on the globe, but then when you add the Terror of fans
jeering you by the thousands, it shoots bullets against your
competitive flack jacket.
Serena Williams got a taste of French anti-American
bile last week as tennis fans in Paris booed and jeered whenever she
hit a bad shot in her bid to win the French Open. The
vitriolic verbal Terror attacks may have cost her a shot at winning
her fifth consecutive major title as she lost to her Belgian rival,
Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-2,4-6, 7-5, in the semi-finals.
Williams distraught after vicious anti-American booing
Hennin-Hardenne defeated Serena Williams in the French Open
Usually non-political and following strict
court-side etiquette, the French Open fans spewed out their dislike
for Serena after she challenged two close calls that went in her
She lost four consecutive points following the booing.
Credit where credit is due, Hennin-Hardenne is a fierce
competitor. She beat Serena Williams in Charleston, S.C.
on April 13, and has been called by sports writers Williams' chief
nemesis. However, it should also be noted that the Belgian
contender rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the final set. How much
the booing and jeering helped her is a matter of conjecture, but for a
sport that usually respects the player's skill rather than his or her
politics, it was a deviation, a "bomb" of sorts in an otherwise
This brings up the next issue--America's
On July 5th until July 27th, Armstrong will
be pedaling his way toward his fifth consecutive victory in France's
great bicycle race, the Tour de France.
This year the
Tour de France celebrates its 100th anniversary
With more than a million fans expected to
view the cycle race each day, there's a chance anti-American verbal
Terrorism can explode against Armstrong's ears, or visuals attack his
eyes. There is added fuel for the French to want their own
to win. This year the Tour de France celebrates its 100th
Armstrong, 31, hasn't forgotten that when
he won the first race five years ago he was accused of using drugs to
give him endurance. He won after being treated for
testicular cancer. He was absolved of all accusations, not
unlike Jose Santos who was also falsely accused of stimulating his
winning horse in the Kentucky Derby.
When prodded by reporters about
anticipating negative reactions along the route, Armstrong said he
hadn't had any negative experiences so far, and was aware of the
possibility that along the 3,350 kilometer (2077 miles) course that
loops through France one or more assaults might be issued his way.
But then there is that old saw among
competitors that it's the game and not the fans that must be played.
Back in the "old days" when the Brooklyn Dodgers and Yankees met, rowdy
fans for each team could easily have been termed "Spectator
Terrorists," yelling, shouting, jeering and even throwing things at
the opposing players, in hopes of helping their team stumble to
But, the idea that politics rolls down the
slippery slope to the base of human competition is more unsettling
than rabid fans rooting for their home teams. When
politics creeps into the veins of sports, it stirs an ugly brew.
Political agendas fall outside those of
sports fans. Their nature is laced with arsenic, and the
mission of the assault has little to do with competition and much to
do with the elements of Terror--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
Could a rabid anti-American shove a broom
handle into the spokes of Lance Armstrong's bike? Could a
Terrorist take a shot at him with a rifle along the 2,000-mile course?
Could one town decide to pool all their angst against America and boo
and jeer him until Complacency overpowered his Competitive nature?
All that is yet to unfold.
riding down the Champs-Elysees waving the Stars and Stripes after
winning the Tour de France in 1999
If any American competitor is braced for
the unexpected, Armstrong, sponsored by the Postal Service, is
certainly one of this nation's great Sentinels of Vigilance.
Despite his bout with cancer, he faced Internal Terror and won not
only a victory for himself, but millions who feel defeated by the
ravages of the disease, which carries with it a suggestion that life's
goals and its future are crushed once afflicted.
overcame his Internal Terror
As a colon cancer survivor, I understand a
little more than the average person the issue of Internal Terrorism.
I've had to face my mortality as any cancer survivor must, and accept
life after cancer. I became most aware of my mortality not
after accepting cancer, but when I faced the Beast of Terror on
September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center.
I was there when the Terrorist attack
occurred and witnessed the horror of people leaping from the burning
buildings, and then the madness when the buildings collapsed and all
of us thought we were dead as debris shot around us and the pall of
death settled down, choking and gagging us to the point we thought for
sure we would suffocate.
But out of the ashes of Terrorism comes
For victims of Terrorism, there is a renewal of
one's mission on earth. That mission is to not let the Beast of
Terror or any of his children or relatives conquer you with the venom
of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, but instead to muster renewed
Courage, Conviction and take the Right Actions that benefit the
Children's Children's Children.
To me, it is sad that both people in France
and America are whipping one another with the flames of Terror.
Recently, a 27-year exchange program of
schoolgirls from France to the U.S., was cancelled by the American
school, Springside, an all-girls private college prep school located
in Philadelphia, PA. The Americans claimed there was too much
resentment against the French to "ensure a truly comfortable or
hospitable stay," according to an email sent by Court van Rooten of
the Springside School.
American all-girls private college prep school is terrorizing
If I were a Terrorist, I would be leaping
with joy over the dissent between America and France.
Terrorism's goal is to create Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency among those it attacks. When
nations that are former friends and allies start to hurl invectives at
one another, boycott products, and spit in each other faces, the Beast
of Terror laughs. He has done his job.
But what is more frightening is when the
attacks infect the children.
Springside School might be only a microcosm
of negativity against France by America, or a reaction by America to
France's rejection of support for the Iraqi War, but the victims of
the battle are the children--the innocent.
As a Marine in Vietnam, I will never
forget the first village I walked through that was shelled by our
artillery. While it may have contained a small
portion of Viet Cong--the enemy--it was virtually leveled as I made my
way through the carnage and rubble. The first thing I saw was a
woman screaming and running around, trying to find the head and limbs
of her child that had been blown to bits. The child's torso was
propped against what remained of a tree.
All wars, whether they be verbal or
brutal showers of bombs and bullets, have a residual effect upon the
children. When one vomits hate and animosity toward another
group of people within the earshot of a child, the child is Terrorized
by the words. He or she is infected by the Terror of the
words. Parents who teach children hate, bigotry, prejudice
are irresponsible in their acts, even if they believe they are only
expressing "their opinion."
While I might carry with me certain
opinions and attitudes shaped by my experiences, I have no right to
pollute a child's mind with my own prejudices, my own narrow views, my
own forms of bigotry or angst toward others.
School is the shame of America
One thing I learned after surviving
the World Trade Center attack, plus more than 100 combat operations in
Vietnam, and many years of living life, is that my I owe everything I
have to the future security of the Children's Children's Children.
That security includes biting my
tongue. It includes standing up against injustices that impact
Crowds booing Serena Williams taught
some children that it's okay to bring your political animosity onto a
tennis court, and to wish ill upon another player because of her
citizenship with a country. It also made clear among those
tennis officials running the Open that Complacency was a new rule.
The match should have been stopped when it was evident the crowd would
continue to boo.
Officials had the duty to keep the
competition "civilized," in keeping with the tradition of such events.
Instead, they didn't stand up. They didn't take the high road.
In France, the officials of the
Tour de France have a special duty to insure the crowds do not act as
Terrorists. They have the duty of the Sentinel of Vigilance, to
guard the future of the children by teaching them that competition is
not war, and that a person's skill is measured by his or ability to
achieve on merit, not on politics.
And, there is the shame of
America--the horror of the Springside School.
Parents and school officials
should hang their heads in shame.
They sent a terrible lesson
across the sea to France that they are no better than the Terrorists
of Nine Eleven, no taller the worst of midgets of human character, for
they assaulted the children with prejudice, they whipped them with
resentment and retaliation.
of Vigilance shed a tear for all Sports Terrorists
Terrorists gleefully enjoy
killing, maiming and scaring all the innocent. The more children
they can harm, the more glee they feel.
While I feel badly for Serena
Williams, and wonder about Lance Armstrong, I feel most concerned
about the teenagers from Carcassonne, France, who have been denied a
trip to the United States. I also feel the same about the
American teenagers who look to their parents, teachers and community
for lessons on human evolution, and instead of seeing growth and
development, stare at the stunted, malformed nature of the Beast of
Terror using children as shields for their own prejudice and bigotry.
The Sentinels of
Vigilance who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and aboard
the ill-fated flight enroute to the White House on September 11, shed
a tear for all who participated in the Sport of Terrorism.
When we play this
game, the children lose.
If you want to
battle the Sport of Terrorism you can and you can win.
You can become a
Parent or Loved One of Vigilance.
Take the Pledge of
Stand up to the
boos and jeers, and let Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the
Children's Children's overpower the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
the fans of Terrorism try to use to win.
Stand up for Vigilance.
Be its greatest fan. The Children's Children's Children
will be the victors if you do.
June 8--The Usual Suspects Of Terrorism
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -