Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sporting heroes are an inspiration

                                              Atalanta and Hippomenes in their race

Isn’t it curious that the two words Inspiration and Perspiration are so similar, yet the first one implies an inbuilt ability to conjure up a solution from some innate knowledge whereas the other merely shows that hard work is the only answer to achieve a goal?

Posting regularly we hear of muses abandoning fellow writers who seek more conducive brains to rest in, rather than having to do all the work themselves or at least prodding the writer to come up with something and then snuggling into their mushy heads once again.

Wasn’t it that girl Atalanta in ancient Greece who having suffered a miserable childhood with a father that wanted a son was abandoned and brought up by bears, fought centaurs and boars and chose to excel at sport and became a fine runner, equal in fact to any man?

You would imagine that Atalanta would be pretty uncouth, as smelly as a bear and not the most desirable of girlfriends having been brought up this way; but not so. For some reason possibly to get hold of the franchise to exploit this maiden her father accepts her back and encourages her athleticism to the extent of laying down the rules for suitors to her hand.

To win this hairy, smelly, uncouth, maiden over, suitors would have to beat her in a foot race. Losers she decides would indeed be that by losing their lives as some apparently did. However one young man Hippomenes with a great desire for Atalanta despite her odoriferous background wants to win her but sees how unlikely that is so seeks Aphrodite’s help. She gives him three golden apples to tempt Atalanta with. He will have to throw them down to entice her to pick them up which is what you do if you have been brought up by smelly bears, abandoned then reconciled with your very rich father who only wanted a son and now is being unbearably cruel to all suitors regardless of their looks or potential…or so the story goes.

So they start running and clearly she is faster as of course she would be as he is toting three golden apples which presumably are very heavy. How he does this I can’t imagine as in ancient Greece you ran naked however whether he drops one or manages to throw it so she can spy it despite her concentrating on her running, I don’t know; but my guess is that someone in the crowd of onlookers tells her what is going on and she glances round and despite her father being as rich as Midas; she chases after it and picks it up. Meanwhile Hippomenes grabs the lead and slightly less encumbered with only two balls left sees her catching up again. So throws another gold ball possibly on a corner of the track so she goes chasing after the second gold ball heading in the opposite direction while he steams ahead again. This happens once more and she is the one that is now lumbered with balls and he wins by a whisker and wins the hairy, smelly, grotty maiden for himself.

Everybody rejoices and he marries Atalanta and even more unlikely stories are told about them later on.

Note: This is not a good story for children. Not because the characters are running around naked with people watching them but because this event may have been the start of cheating at sport for gain, albeit abetted by those in control of the sports people’s lives. Does this sound familiar?


Now you will want to know where the inspiration for this story came. Australia has just announced that there is widespread corruption in sport. Hello? I thought we knew this all along. Recently the Australian ABC News reported:

An Australian Crime Commission investigation has found widespread drug use in Australian professional sport, with some athletes being given substances not yet approved for human use.
The year-long investigation says organized criminal networks have been involved in distributing the drugs to athletes and support staff, including doctors and coaches.
In at least one case an entire team is believed to have been doped. 

So how about Hippomenes and Atalanta you ask? Well, getting a good look at him after the race she realizes that perhaps such a resourceful chap wouldn’t be a bad husband after all so they get wed but in their eagerness to get to bed completely forget to thank the gods for their help by which nothing could happen in those days. Zeus and Aphrodite are furious but luckily recognizing the couples love for each other they are placed in a constellation in the sky for all time. If you believe all that you must be on drugs too!


  1. Great story on mythology with a modern twist that I really enjoyed, Old Egg! I like your version better! :-) You pose a good question here about cheating, is it the way things always have been done? Certainly it is a common theme these days. In fact, I think I'll use it for next week's prompt... thanks for the inspiration! :-)

  2. I love mythology! What a great story!

  3. and international soccer (Football) has been rigged...who would believe

  4. I pretty well believe all that, O.E. I was a little dissapointed to hear that she couldn't run fast enough carrying those three balls. But all is well that ends well.

    Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent persperation."

    My muse has beef fairly faithful to me so far since 2005 in the blog area. Sometimes I don't feel like writing a poem for my Sunday blog but when needed I can always come up with a short haiku or similar.

    On the first two of these blogs I try to have a picture from those I have taken but the third doesn't have pictures (except for one):

    Jim's Little Blog;
    Jim's Little Photo and Poem Place; and
    Ask Dr. Jim (blog).

  5. It would seem that women have forever had a reputation for being unable to resist shiny things. Too bad so many moderns are no different.