07 March 2007

Osama loves Cross Country. Who knew!

Ever since 9/11, America has become privy to numerous terror alerts that are "supposed" to inform citizens of possible dangers. Well, these alerts have taken a latest turn for the weird.

The US Embassy in Kenya has warned the public of a possible terrorist attack on the World Cross Country Championships taking place in the east African country later this month. A statement released yesterday asked American citizens traveling to the event (apparently this is a real hot ticket, kind of like the Super Bowl or NBA All-Star Game) against frequently popular places in the host city of Mombasa. There were almost no further details on a possible attack.

An alert like this brings up numerous questions. First of all, why would terrorists attempt to disrupt a cross country event? I could think of numerous events that would cause a greater world panic – including, but not limited to, any MLB, NFL, NBA, English Premier League, or European Champions League game. Heck, if I were Al-Qaeda, I would attack the Little League World Series before attacking any cross country meet.

Second, what is the American government accomplishing by sending out these alerts? There were attacks in 1998 on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but this event is incredibly non-Western world, as many African countries will likely clean up the medals. And there will be absolutely no American media coverage of the event. Alerts like this really just add to the notion that the government sends out these alerts to attempt to convince people that the war in Iraq (and other such terror initiatives) are justifiable instead of actually providing Americans a service. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Third, why would anyone attend a Cross Country event in the first place? Have they ever been to a cross country event? I have, and I can tell you, it sucks ass. You cannot see anything because the runners are, obviously, spread out throughout the course so you cannot see who is winning even if you wanted to. What's even worse than attending a cross country is covering one of these things as a journalist. You'll never get less action and more bland quotes (ask them about anything, and they'll just be like "well, we just have to keep training, blah blah blah") from any other athletes. Cross Country is a recreational sport, like croquet or bocce ball, not a spectator sport.

Let's just say Al-Qaeda and America would be better off spending its resources elsewhere.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

I know it's fun to bag on sports about which we know little, and I fully acknowledge that cross country fans are few and far between, but this is a major international sporting event. The organizers are expecting 20,000+ spectators, and despite your thoughts that it's not a "Western" event, it will receive considerable press coverage in Europe which, last time I checked, is considered Western.

Also, equating the World Cross Country Championships with the local high school or college meet you were sent to is way off. I'm not familiar with the setup in Mombasa, but past World Championshis have been held in venues that allow the majority of the spectators to have seating. For example, the World Championships were held on a temporary course within the Meadowlands race track in the 80s.

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