Why mighty Zeus is ashamed...
Monday, March 24, 2008
While any true sports fan's attention is riveted on the CBI tournament and the premier match-up of Sean Singletary's Virginia squad versus, well, somebody, other less-focused and more globalist fans have already turned their attention to the 2008 Olympics.
Or, rather, they have not. In fact, no one has. No one, that is, other than Mitt Romney, who is looking to reprise his 2002 Salt Lake role in the burgeoning Asian futures market! (Or he may be angling for a Veep nomination - it is hard to tell).
Anyway, the lighting of the Olympic torch today, presented in all of its lackluster glory, got Pedro thinking - why doesn't Pedro (and consequently, everyone else) care about the Olympics? Let's consider five reasons, and just to be festive, we'll consider each reason as one of the five Olympic rings.
Ring 1 - BLUE --- Inequitable balancing of professional and amateur sports.
It all began with the "Dream Team." If the Olympics want the best the sport of basketball has to offer, then the Olympics needs Bird, Magic, Barkley, et al. Sure, the Dream Team dominated (but note how the silver went to Croatia - even before the Yugoslav war was complete! They were itching for a fight!), but the Dream Team also spoke to the death of the amateur spirit in the Olympics. Today, the US fields a team of pros and cannot even earn gold let alone demolish the opposition in an athletic display of hoops hegemony. Lame.
Moreover, what about curling? There is no professional curling league, so how are we to get the best-of-the-best, only to see aforementioned best-of-the-best fall flat on their faces a decade later through their own hubris? (Sidenote: There are, however, professional ice maintainers for curling amateurs. That is similar to professional waterboys for an all-amateur NFL. And that is simply lame.)
Ring 2 - BLACK --- The legal morass of the Olympics.
Take your pick - sketchy deals, smoke-filled backrooms with wheelers and dealers deciding the fate of under-sponsored athletes, crooked commissioners... the Olympics has it all.
It is a legal tangle waiting to happen. Just look at what they did to John Candy in Cool Runnings! The man only wanted a last hurrah before hit bit the dust - and look at what they did to him. The shame.
Two recent Supreme Court cases drive home the insecurity of the Olympics. In 1987, in San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic Committee, the United States Supreme Court held that Congress could grant the exclusive use of the word "Olympics" to the Committee. How insecure do you have to be? What, is the Olympics like McDonald's now, which has prevented me from expressing my true views on things that I love due to potential trademark infringement? Now I can only "really be liking" something or be "extremely passionate" about it - no longer can I be
In a more interesting case, 2007's Morse v. Frederick, the Court decided the now-infamous "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" case. The backdrop, of course, was the passing of the Olympic (can I use that word?) torch through Juneau, Alaska, where the offending banner was unfurled. Lesson? The Olympics(TM) clearly hates free speech.
Ring 3 - RED --- The lamest mascots and opening shows ever.
I mean seriously. Has anyone ever felt more sorrow for the world's collective artistic creativity than when faced with an Olympic mascot or, worse yet, an Opening Ceremony?
We need not step back too far into the past. Think back (if you can bear to) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. The opening ceremony included ice dancers with giant (massive!) tumors attached to their heads. What does that say about the Olympics - that it is a cancerous mass on the world's athletic conscience?
I think so.
The plethora of other pointless and downright bizarre ceremonies need not be recounted here. I am sure that you, like me, awake in a sweat several times a week after having re-lived the Lillehammer or Seoul ceremonies in your nightmare.
But what of the mascots? This year's offering is a variation on a theme of pandas, some with seaweed dripping from their hair, others immolating before our eyes after having stood too close to the torch, etc. Odd. It is like a troop of Teletubbies, only Jerry Falwell would have likely considered ALL of them to be sexually-suspect. Even the Americans can't get this one right, as the 1996 Atlanta mascot was some sort of lightning blue blob guy. WHY CAN'T THEY BE NORMAL?
Ring 4 - YELLOW --- Free Tibet, oxygen, et al.
How many more distractions from pure unadulterated competition can one bear? Even the opening of the 2008 Olympic season today was interrupted by Tibetan protestors. China's notable pollution problem is likely to prevent marathoners from breaking any records, though hopefully not from competing at all. Athletes are testing positive for steroids left and right. (Not sure how all those East German female shot-putters got through). All we hear about are these side issues. Why can't we get to the actual competition? Which brings me to the final ring (kind of like the 200 meter sprint in a pentathlon...)
Ring 5 - GREEN --- The Olympics have not been fun since the end of Communism.
Remember how amazing it was when the United States defeated the Soviet Union to win the 1980 gold medal in men's ice hockey? No? Allow Disney to refresh your mind...
Better? Yeah! Remember how good that felt? Do you know WHY it felt so good? Because it was the athletic equivalent of dropping a giant nuclear weapon on Moscow and wiping out all the Commies in a single blow!
Let's be honest with ourselves - what is the point of a competition based on nations other than to serve as a proxy for actual war between them? Don't even bother to try - you won't think of one.
The Olympics were initiated by the Greeks, who knew a thing or two about fighting (I haven't seen "300" yet, but I hear it's pretty good. Of course, I HAVE read my Herodotus, so I don't need any silly movie, thank you very much). Obviously the Greeks wanted to get their collective fight-on when the phalanxes weren't quite ready. Fast-forward through the nuclear age, and you get to a time when the Olympics were made to have G.I. Joe and Cobra (a.k.a. Russians) square off in the pit of sport combat.
I rue the day the Wall came down. It may have symbolized the re-birth of the East for many, but for me it marked the end of the Olympics. I just plain don't care about it any more.
You hear that Bode Miller!? I DON'T CARE!
posted by Pedro Cerrano @ 18:02,
- At March 25, 2008 at 11:03 AM, JC said...
I can't remember an Olympics that had so much controversy leading up to it.
Curse these Internets.