Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist


Capitalism is defined as “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”

Capitalism has created the greatest economy in the history of the world (ours) and lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system in the history of the world. The history of the success of the United States is economically based on capitalism. Today, many downplay or outright scorn capitalism.

Socialism is on the rise, even here.

Yet, if the coin of the realm is points or speed, capitalism flourishes around the world. Sports of any ilk are capitalistic in nature. Their construct is a coach or manager, and there is a team. Yes, at some higher levels (such as the NFL or the NBA) the governing body may have socialistic tendencies, but at the locus of the game, the action is capitalistic. And this holds true for all sports – baseball, football, basketball, auto racing, swimming, horse racing, soccer and horseshoes. Table games, such as chess, fall in this category, too.

Socialists and communists in the everyday world, when it comes to their sport of choice, behave like capitalists.

The biggest softie you have ever known when it comes to social issues, charity and other benevolent activities, will shout for the coach’s head when it comes to accountability in sports. Of course, these high standards often extend to individual players, too.

In Highland County, since Coach Bill Atsalis left in 1966, one of the most dangerous jobs to take has been that of the Hillsboro High School football coach. Many have left before the first snowflake fell in Highland County, in their first season, and sometimes they left in the middle of the night.

Sports fans everywhere have been the most demanding “owners” ever seen in any enterprise. In recent years, sports organizations have made the mistake of engaging in social issues, issues far from the purview of their raison d’être. The name Colin Kaepernick, as well as others, comes to mind when we let our thoughts stray to these areas.

I think sports have hurt themselves when straying this far from their capitalistic roots. However, now comes a new twist, only a few years old. Rapidly becoming the poster child for this new issue is Lia Thomas, formerly known as Will Thomas, who swims for the University of Pennsylvania. Thomas, between 2016 and 2019, swam as a man for the university. Now, as Lia, Thomas swims as a woman, breaking female swimming records right and left.

As a raw capitalist sports observer, you may think this is fine – bring in the best players we can find and let them compete. If this is where we are going, I would advise all genetically gifted persons, born female, to hang up their suits (in any strength-related sport) and go home.

However, as an alternative, I suggest we do what we have done in the economic society when raw capitalism gets out of hand – bring in some regulations. In this case, I think a simple blood test might be able to discern the real girls from the real boys (hint: look for testosterone). You don’t even have to pull down their pants.

This does not apply to all sports. I think auto racing, horse racing, chess and other such sports would be the better if more people participated, and I don’t care if they wear a dress, pants or something else.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.