It was the 57th meeting of the GOGC (Gopher Olympic Games Committee)
with the annual games held at night after every three new moons.
The Chairgopher (an esteemed professor) Jordan rose on his hind-legs, waited for the many squeaks to subside, gazed across the large cavern that held the 159 gopher delegates and announced, “the specific case concerns a proposal that has gained traction across many of our gopher communities of late, that the prizes awarded to the winners of each event be the same and not as exist presently in so far as ‘tunneling’ has a greater prize than pole vaulting or that matter female worming always excels that of male worming due to their better sensing capabilities,” then turning to his left he added, “Now would our secretary please read out the categories of gophers in attendance.”
The GOGC secretary Janice rose in reply and announced, “We have gophers representing the sports of worming, running, tunneling, swimming, jumping, climbing, weightlifting, pole vaulting and wrestling. In each of these sports we have a male and female from the following tribes, Yellow-faced pocket gopher, Oriental Basin pocket gopher, Smoky pocket gopher, Eastern pocket gopher, Desert pocket gopher, Plains pocket gopher, Texas pocket gopher, Central Texas pocket gopher, South-eastern pocket gopher and the Tropical pocket gopher which makes in total 160 gophers.” She then called the roll.
After the gophers acknowledged their attendance with a squeak Janice sat back down and Chairgopher Jordan said, “Of course there are also albinos, greys and black gophers but we make no distinction regarding those groups as they exist to some degree in all the tribes mentioned.
“I now call upon our esteemed member Peggy-Main from our Eastern weightlifting pocket gopher delegation to outline her concerns.” He suddenly looked pained as if discovering the gopher infirmary instructed him to take some unpleasant medicine.
A rather large grey and black spotted female gopher rose among the crowd and said, “I believe that every gopher should get the same reward regardless of the event. That is a medal and twenty worms. At the last games I won the weightlifting and got a medal and ten worms while Henry an albino from the Desert gophers won the tunneling and got 20 worms and his medal. Many gophers here are concerned that although you say there is no distinction between gophers I can assure you the albino males come away from every Olympic games with a far greater haul of medals and worms than the rest of us.”
From the front a thin grey gopher rose, turned and stated impatiently, “Some things like tunneling are far more important to a gopher community than weightlifting or god save us, pole-vaulting.”
Peggy-Main in her most condescending tone replied, “We are not testing what is useful we are testing our particular skill. Searching your fur for ticks is useful but it is not an Olympic event.”
A voice from the rear shouted, “Nothing beats catching worms!”
Another from nearby, “Eating them does,” Followed by some amused squeaking.
“Chairgopher Jordan, please!” protested Peggy-Main.
Jordan held up a paw and the squeaking subsided. The thin grey gopher in the front again rose to speak saying, “It was not so long ago that the female gophers got far fewer worms than the male for the same discipline and we changed all that.
He lifted a paper and said, "I quote from the sub-committee findings: 'The establishment of the gopher male principle in equal measure with the gopher female principle is in the natural order of things. They should never exist in a mutually exclusive relationship. There should not be an emphasis on one at the expense of the other, for both are indispensable. The establishment of the true gopher self is a fact of reality for both male and female gophers.'"
He put down the document and looked at around the large gathering, "All well and good but now you want every gopher to get the same regardless of the event. What if we made scratching your backside an Olympic Gopher event would that also get 20 worms and a medal?”
Pausing he answered his own question, “No, in our gopher-world certain abilities are more valuable than others.
“We are all born in a burrow and learn to catch worms or learn weightlifting and devoting ourselves to whichever particular discipline interests us. Later we are rewarded appropriately for the value of that skill to the larger gopher community or gopher-world.”
From somewhere in the middle of the cavern a voice plaintively exclaimed, “But learning to swim is very difficult for a gopher and it only gets ten worms.”
“Learning to swim fast is not easy but we all learn to swim after every downpour,” replied the grey gopher in the front.
There was a long silence with only an occasional squeak interrupting until Chairgopher Jordan rose and raised a paw.
“Gopher Peggy-Main do you wish to move a motion?”
Peggy-Main rose, "No. Only to say whether male or female gopher, being noble or base depends entirely on what a gopher has done. It is a gopher’s actions and sincerity that count not his or her usefulness.
Again a silence and Jordan followed, “I take it that the majority agree that in the context of GOGC and its games equality of skills determines the reward not equality of outcome. May I further comment that the ladder of skills is infinite in gopher-world therefore the number of worms as a reward will depend on the type of event and not the individual gopher’s original event choice or the effort put into its mastering.”
“All those in favour of moving on please raise your right paw.” Pause. “I hereby declare the present status quo.”