Who are the Real Bad Guys of today?

Growing up is an interesting concept that I’m still trying to fully grasp. Elegant brutality of life happens in front of our faces every day, but it remains hidden from the eyes of those who refuse to accept certain truths about life. Adults have this world which they don’t speak about. The older generation of adults doesn’t like to speak about how they come from an era where there was simply not enough for everyone, while the new generation of adults doesn’t like to speak about how they come from an era where there should be enough for everyone. Subtle changes are happening at those levels, invisible to those who don’t know exactly what to look for, but that’s something we don’t need to speak about. There are levels of functioning where an organization, or an industry, or a company, or even a whole sport is just a cleverly and elegantly positioned tool, or an asset, within a greater long term purpose.

Over the past two decades digital communities, territories and markets have been simultaneously created, developed, conquered, and regulated. Due to regulators delayed reactions and with the rapid development of the digital market, many companies have understandably employed a “first come, first served” approach. Most have even consciously chosen the path of first conquering as much market share and having as much control of it, and only then focusing on the quality of their digital products and returns for their investors. In fact, the majority of these new modern companies are not yet profitable for their investors at all, but investors continue to invest in them due to the digital market share these companies have created and captured. At least, they’ve continued to invest so far. I have a slight feeling that these dynamics could soon change and that investors will start seeking something in return for all their investments. Definitions of a company start to change once a company from one country starts to have a global reach. Now national institutions of the country can benefit in more ways than one from that international company. What happens if a bigger company from a bigger country comes to a smaller country? What happens when an international company which is of national interests for a country falls apart? What happens if profit stops being the main reason a company exists?

There are many similarities between an international company and a sport. A common practice in waterpolo is to categorize ourselves by nations and structure our most significant competitions around our national identities and mostly agreed-upon borders. Because of my experience as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Danče, and given the esteemed status of the Republic of Danče in global geopolitics, I have rubbed shoulders with numerous world officials, and I can tell you this much. The foreign policy of a sovereign entity is nothing but a leverage used to improve one’s position within the political situation of that same sovereign entity. Nothing more. This is, in a way, good and healthy for that entity because, unrelated with the internal game of thrones of a certain country, these outside leverages facilitate the inflow of new information and knowledge for everyone within that regulated entity.

From my travels as the the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Danče I came to a conclusion that Tony Montana was partly right. Both people and regulators need someone to be „the bad guy”. To make the system stronger and resilient, every generation with its social changes requires a few bad guys who exploit the gaps in the new system. A system that will later, in front of everybody, sacrifice them on the altar of social progress. A social progress of a society that later uses them as symbols and reference points for future generations. It seems to me that the greatest problems arise when there’s a shortage of bad guys. The paradox of it all is that without a constant influx of new and unregulated situations, many regulators would find it very difficult to justify their role, and by extension, their income. To maintain their position, or to justify their shortcomings, they will always need someone to point their fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy”. So who are the real bad guys here? Those who are accused of being The bad guys, or those who accuse someone of being the bad guys? It doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, if you are regulating or being regulated, try not to be a bad guy and try not to be the person that points their fuckin finger and calls anybody a bad guy.

There are interesting moments in history. And one of them might come soon in our sport. I have a feeling that many people and federations are going all out for the Paris Olympic Games, that are going to be held in 327 days. And there are in total only 6 medals to be given in mens and womens waterpolo. That probably means that many will stop investing after the Olympics. Although it is clear as a pool that we have a lot more people playing waterpolo now than we did 5 or 10 years ago (not backed by any research, just my assessment), I am not sure how sustainable many of the waterpolo solutions and programs are going to be if the winter of governmental funding for waterpolo arrives after the Paris Olympics. Just for comparison. At Tokyo Olympics there were altogether 1785 gold, silver and bronze medals given to mens and womens swimmers. 1785!!! One thousand seven hundred and eighty fucking five medals!! How is waterpolo going to compete with that if we get the treatment we get from the World Aquatics.

The point is. World Aquatics, formerly known as FINA, doesn’t care about waterpolo. And that is okay. Nothing against that. They have every right to promote the aquatic sports the way they want to. If one sport is giving them better numbers and they are only acting upon these numbers. I understand. But that has nothing to do with European Aquatics always ending up with the shorter end of the stick. Why do you always have to go around FINA. Why can’t you just have some spine and think about whats the best for the product. Whats best for waterpolo. You don’t need to spread waterpolo around the world. You are European Aquatics. Take care of the quality of the European waterpolo with a little bit more of balls. You are allowed to speak about the issues that you have because of the schedule that World Aquatics is imposing on you. That doesn’t make you a bad guy. What makes you a bad guy is if you were to blame the World Aquatics for something you did, or did not do. You need to think about your product and most importantly about your players and their teams. Waterpolo might be unimportant for World Aquatics, but it still holds some relevance on the European market.