Now what am I going to do? The Olympics are over. No more staying up until 4:30 a.m. to watch the replay of the curling preliminaries. No more hottie figure skaters. No more Jamie Sale, the best thing to come out of Canada since hockey. No more Jim Lampley on CNBC (well at least something good will come out of this).
I don’t know why, but as soon as the Olympics begin to take a place in my daily ritual, they’re gone, yet again. The only events that I really would take a day off of work to watch are the Major League Baseball playoffs, the World Cup, and the Olympics. But the great thing about the Olympics is the wall-to-wall coverage it receives. For 16 days, you get practically non-stop coverage of every conceivable event.
The only problem is if you’ve opened up a Web page, watched a newscast, or flipped on ESPN with that stupid crawl at the bottom of the screen and accidentally looked, you already know the results of the event you’re about to watch. I always spend the Olympic fortnight media-ducking as best as I can. But with the Internet and more cable now than ever, it gets harder and harder every year. But even when you know, it still doesn’t stop the drama of what you’re about to see unfold on screen.
To truly appreciate the Olympics, you have to value the effort of the athletes who compete in them. Many of the sports participating only gain exposure once every four years, and yet people dedicate their entire lives to train and sacrifice for that one moment.
But what if you’re having a bad day? What if you hit a bad patch of ice and fall off your luge sled? What if you get the flu and there’s just no way you can speedskate as fast as you normally do? You can’t even take a Dimetapp because that would be a violation of the doping laws.
What if you can’t get that puff of wind you need during the ski jump? What if your rocks just aren’t sliding the way they’re supposed to at your make or break curling match?
Oh yeah, let me chip in with this on the whole curling thing. The motto of the Olympics is “citius, altius, fortius.” Faster, higher, stronger. How the heck does sliding a rock down an ice rink meet any of these standards? Having said that, I take comfort in the knowledge that I could achieve Olympic glory by getting really good at shuffleboard on ice. And I was fascinated when I watched it. There should be one event for those of us not blessed with outstanding genetic talent. But if quarters or bridge ends up in the Summer Games, I’m going to have issues with that. And do you think the curlers in the Olympic Village are shunned by everyone else? You sit down with some Norwegian babes at the lunch table. “So, what sport are you in?” “I’m a curler.” You know they’re going to get up and walk away to go hang with Sven the bobsled pusher.
I wish every day was an Olympic day, but I also know that would take away from what makes the Games so special in the first place. It is one of the last bastions of pure competition and sport mostly for sport’s sake. Anytime someone is willing to dedicate their life to achieving a goal, be it a gold medal or just making the team, it always makes for great theatre. I’m counting down to Athens already.
- Collin Sherwin is a senior majoring in political firstname.lastname@example.org