The 30th of July is International Friendship Day, and I turn to The Guardian Correspondent, Sean Ingle’s post-match commentary to spotlight the Iran v USA Basketball match – a low key unhyped match that took place at the Saitama Super Arena during this week’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The article describes how a meeting of two people from enemy countries can end in fellowship, and gives us a window into just how impossibly, incredibly, it happened. After the match, Iran’s Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi casually asked US Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker for a photo and Booker coolly agreed, not just to a picture, or even to the conversation and smiles that followed, but to sharing a moment in Olympic history as representatives of two countries that have had no diplomatic relations for forty-plus years.
At a time when much of the media is inciting TV spectators to judge the mental health of Olympian athletes from their living room sofas, the Mohammad and Deven photo moment seems like something worth noting. Because as US Coach Gregg Popovich sums up: “…sport transcends all that petty crap you get from governments,” and because the instance sheds light on a pair of true athletes who were able to respect each other for their athletic effort and step beyond four decades of international animosity. That does seem like a noble fellowship worth noting. So,
Happy International Friendship & Fellowship Day!
And from my laptop, I cast aside all cynicism for the rest of the Olympics and hereby declare f*riendship, f*ellowship and s*port the new meaning of the acronym, ffs, free for use in texting or social media going forward.