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Time, as we usually repeat, works as a test of passion and perseverance, and so does weather occasionally. |
On Sunday February 20, a freezing, gusty and resultingly life-threatening day, fifteen members met at the 1st Club gathering after the Spring Festival, the 35th in her eight months long history. Among the fifteen, five were new. Although Hu Jie, an early bird that morning, repeated several times about his research field in his brief self-introduction, we remained confused about what it was. Hero, a banking consultant, joined the crowd under the recommendation of Sherry and made an excellent presentation one hour later. As Hudson expected, there came Ryan, a young man who betrayed his university major—chemistry and turned himself into a software translator. We also had two nice ladies, Wendy and April, the former of whom was a joint venture staff, while the latter an English-major sophomore at a top university for foreign language studies in Beijing.
Jerry substituted for Stella, his wife, to work out two topics last week. Thanks to his wisdom and efforts, a heated debate was triggered among all the three groups about Tian Liang’s being dumped by the national diving team for his controversial commercial activities. In addition, the members got chances to manifest about the relation between men’s looks and their achievements.
Hero made a superior debut, representing his Group I to show their sympathy on Tian, the Diving Princess, victimized by the bureaucratic sports authorities, as they indicated. And Hero was in full cry against the poor and inhuman management of the authorities and he appealed the State Sports Administration should overhaul the loopholes in their concepts, mechanism and management about the players. The authorities took for granted that they were in possession of those Olympic champions but they failed to work out solutions to ensure the post-retirement education and careers in favor of those stars. Group II turned their thumbs down on the sympathy of Group I. They exchanged eye contacts with each other and Ryan got elected to be the group representative. He asserted that Tian was in no case a victim. As a developing country, China launched its Gold Medal Strategy, which the sports authorities centralized all the funds available to foster world champions and Olympic medalists. As a reward for the national maximum investment and the contribution made by the coaches and partners, the winners should submit certain percentage of their prizes and commercial revenue to the authorities and obey the rules necessary for discipline and management. Tian joined more than appropriate entertaining activities and broke the set rules, and consequently he deserved the punishment. With their opposite opinions, the two groups exchanged fire at each other before the 3rd group, led by two civil servants, Hudson and Yulin, took their turn to say a word about their ideas.
A busy day for Hudson, a man in his early thirties. He hosted the gathering, suspended the too early debate and made his presentation as entrusted by his table sharers. He pointed out that we could not jump to a conclusion whether the diving athlete or the sports authorities were more to blame for the conflict and deadlock because we didn’t know inside out what happened exactly between the versatile young man with great potentials and the bureaucratic authorities. However, Tian, undoubtedly, was a wrongdoer, involving himself in a triangular love affairs and having his image stained, signing a contract with Emperor Entertainment Corp. without the permission of the Swimming Association, refusing obligatory submission of some of his commercial income to the Association, and etc. Meanwhile, the sports authorities were outdated in their management, clumsy in developing the athletes’ sports resources and late in precaution against such an obvious tendency and a sooner-or-later event. In general, Tian’s dismissal from the national diving team resulted from the conflict between the athlete’s personal interests and the national interests. Hudson called on the reform that a mechanism should be set up to restore the balance between the national players’ individual materialistic and spiritual gains and the national objectives.
Despite the different ideas of the three groups, they got consensus that it was very unlikely for Tian to make a comeback and get signed up again by the national team although he loved diving so much. He was almost 26 years old and would be 29 by 2008 Olympics after all. He was on his way downhill and he had gone too far, beyond what the authorities could tolerate.
Besides Tian’s incident, we also talked a lot about Mayun, the founder of Alibaba, and his mirthful motto at an award ceremony that men’s good looks are adversary to their achievements. Compared with the heated debate about Tian, all the members were unanimous about the links between men’s appearance and achievements, as you can imagine. But some were really impressive. Sherry’s speech was more like a press conference, at which she made an announcement about her emphasis and requirements for her Mr. Right. Responsibility was the top priority. Yulin was always very lucid and concise in his points. According to him, good looks were easy to forget and ugly faces sometimes were not and could be popular, such as Ge You, the money spinner for movie investors and directors.
The gathering lasted for as long as 2 hours and 10 minutes, shorter than the Lunch joined by 7 members. One table will not be enough next week, I’m sure, for some many members are back from their hometowns then, esp. some volunteers, for example, Lillian (from Toronto), and June.