I must say I was a bit surprised by the feisty tone in some of the comments on my last post. I guess, as a group, sailors and paddlers and swimmers and surfers are not ready to forgive jet skiers for former transgressions against humanity.
Apparently, some of us still feel jet skiers are a hopeless lot, with little chance of changing or redeeming themselves. So, if we can't convert them to righteous ways of sail, wave, or paddle power, how are we to rid ourselves of this pestilence?
I have been working on such a plan for some time now, and this may be an opportune moment to reveal it. My plan requires that sailors take no drastic action. The jet skiers would solve the problem for us entirely on their own. Their macho nature and competitive spirit would just help things along.
The plan begins with a sports event that has always puzzled me - the Olympic Biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and - of all things - riflery. Biathletes race around a course on skis, carrying a rifle, and stop several times at a shooting range where they aim at fixed targets. They're assessed time penalties in the race for targets they miss. And did you know that, while it's not an Olympic event, there's also a corresponding summer Biathlon that combines running with riflery? Both of these events seem kind of goofy to me and, well, out of touch with modern trends in sports.
What does this have to do with jet skiing? Well, I propose the Olympic Biathlon be moved to the summer Olympics and also be substantially updated. I would combine riflery with jet skiing instead of snow skiing. Competitors would negotiate a course on jet skis, much like a sailing race course, and would carry rifles that they would aim at targets at designated places along the course, just as in the current Biathlon.
But, hold on here, there's a twist that I think would turn this into an event that sailors, paddlers, swimmers, and surfers would cheer for.
Since it's hard to set up fixed targets for riflery on a watery jet ski course, I propose the participants aim not at conventional targets, but at each other, instead.
That's right, in this event the athletes would be literally gunning for their opponents. They would thus have an opportunity to advance their score through skillful marksmanship, but also by, well, eliminating the competition.
Think of it - at a high level of competition like the Olympics, by the medal round the only ones left standing might well be the medalists themselves.
I think the new element of mortal fear would put an exciting edge on the competition. And, considering all of the preliminary qualifying rounds at the local and regional level that would be required to reach the Olympics, this could effectively control the world's jet skier population and tremendously reduce the sport's global carbon footprint. A classic win-win.
On top of that, this competition would have a certain Darwinian sense of natural balance that's sure to find favor with ecologists and naturalists around the globe.
So what about it, sailors and lovers of peace and quiet on the water, isn't it time we updated an archaic sporting event and brought the Olympic Biathlon into the 21st century?