Monday, June 23, 2008

Olympics are coming...

We did absolutely nothing this weekend. Money is tight, and so expenditures need to stay low.

Saturday and Sunday, NBC was showing Olympic trials for "women's" gymnastics. And we also ended up watching some diving trials.

I confess, as I'm growing old and cynical, I'm increasingly skeptical of the whole Olympic enterprise. And poor Jamie, who loves the Olympics, is probably tired of hearing it, but...

The modern Olympics were sort of a friendly match of upper crust gentlemen meeting and playing some games, giving each other medals and going home. Today its been turned not just into a weird sort of opportunity for McDonalds to get their BigMac ads in between pole vaults (which is actually pretty understandable), but any notion that this is "friendly" competition seems naive at best, and propaganda at worst.

Somehow we've morphed what was amateur competition into young people loading themselves up with steroids (Ex: Marion Jones), and the weird mix of children who show promise and who are lucky enough to have stage parents who get their kids to practice 12 hours per day, almost every day in some gym so they can get their fifteen seconds. And forget the methodology employed in other countries where things are a little less democratic.

How many athletes don't we see who don't make he cut and make it to the Olympics and are still a part of the culture of doping and, (depending on how you think of it) exploitation of children, all we ever see are the folks who make the cut. Even the NBC coverage of the trials only focuses on the few who the NBC producers assume will make it. And, really, if you listen to the commentators, there's so much that's assumed about the trials, one has to wonder about how much is determined by scores and statistics, and how much is subjective in sports where winners aren't determined by things like "who threw the shot put the furthest", but by a squad of judges using some odd, indecipherable alchemy.

Perhaps its a blind spot in my make-up. I have no idea.

But I'll tune in. There are too many other sports and athletes who aren't pumping themselves (to the best of my knowledge) with HGH. There are sports that don't have a weird culture built in of judges, coaches and parents all wrapped up and making decisions that affect the outcome of the competition. And athletes I don't look at and wonder how much is weird parents, coaches, etc... trying to gather a bit of the glory, and how much is athletes trying to please those same people when that's the life they've known since they were eight or nine.


J.S. said...

The League is just bitter because Karebear and The Admiral forced him to undergo extensive equestrian training for the Olympics throughout his childhood. Eventually it became clear that genetics were working against The League, when he grew large enough to pick up his horse, Mr. Wiggles, and carry it around the track (thus rendering moot countless hours of repetitive training for the Olympics). No matter how much they trained, The Leauge simply couldn't hold his legs up long enough to keep them from dragging in the dirt before the end of the race.
Mr. Wiggles and The League tried to salvage some of their work by cross training as a two member synchronized swimming team, but tragically, their bid for stardom came to an end when one of The League's floaties deflated and he began to take on water.
Still, we salute their Olympic spirit. And their doping.

The League said...

It is true that my bitterness regarding my own experience in Shetland Pony Racing colors my opinions. Only Shannon Lowry ever really understood my desire to become a world-famous Shetland Pony jockey.

But if we're going to talk about this, let us talk about Steanso's experience with miniature pony dressage. And tip a hat to your horse, Professor Cuddlesworth.