Competing With the Ayatollah
Whenever I need to escape, I like to think about Iran and our wonderful 3 decade long competition. What’s impressive is that since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, there have always been new ways to exploit the tension, both politically and artistically.
Of course the most famous of these exploitations has to be the years of enmity between Hulk Hogan and the Iron Sheik. The two went back and forth, always finding a new way to up the ante in their ongoing feud. It wasn’t just entertainment, it was sport for a country looking for a villain and a hero.
That’s one of the beautiful things about sports in America. We tend to be really good at them so no matter how things may be going geo-politically, we can always come back to our athletic achievements. That’s part of the reason why the Olympic basketball loss to the Russians in 1972 was so devastating. It’s also why the 1980 Lake Placid “Miracle on Ice” was so satisfying. It’s probably also why we really don’t even pay attention during the World Baseball Classic.
But recently we had another one of those moments of pride and it once again involved wrestling and Iran. There was no grandstanding for the crowd this time, though. Just a simple non-look that says “I owned you.”
Where’s your Iron Sheik now, Iran? Huh?