Skip to main content

Why I Hate The Olympics (Or Did)

I hate the Olympics.

I'm not sure exactly when it started. I remember loving them at one point. My parents absolutely adore them, so the love affair probably sprouted in my childhood. Back then the Berlin Wall stood tall and Soviet Russia was a very real threat. We were not long removed from school children hiding under desks to avoid nuclear holocaust. Rooting for the U.S. bordered on a moral duty. I can recall checking the morning's papers to see the medal count.

But at some point it all became too much. Too much gross nationalism; too much overhyped hoopla; too much doping; too much controversy; too much rewarding hosting duties to cities clearly incapable of the job; too much displacing poor people so that relatively rich people can participate in a sport; just too much. I see people on FB who post constantly about the plight of the poor in this country and who have been on humanitarian missions expressing glee and delight in the Olympics. I'm not sure you can be a moral crusader and enjoy an event that resulted in thousands of poor people losing their homes and livelihoods. I'm not saying you can't enjoy the Olympics, and I'm not saying  you can be a moral crusader for the poor. Just that you can't do both.

And take this line from a story on the Olympics in Slate.com:
Everyone knows that the Olympics, as broadcast on NBC and its sister channels, are less an athletic spectacle than a biennial soap opera in lycra and spandex.
Not so much a sports spectacular than a soap opera.* That kind of describes my feelings. Anyway, that It probably didn't help that for the last couple Olympics I've been bone tired raising triplets.

But this year something is different.

This year I'm sitting on the couch with the kids watching gymnastics and swimming. I'm looking forward to watching diving. Diving. Which while really cool and a feat that certainly takes lots of strength and control, barely qualifies as a sport.**

These things are all true. Except for that last opinion about what constitutes a sport, I'm not even sure you can argue them. So what changed?

Maybe its because I'm 40 now. Perspective and all that. Maybe its because I've got kids. Maybe its something else? A return to roots I abandoned as I formed by own identity?

Who knows.

Kids do weird things to you. And sometimes the universe drops things in your lap that can't really be explained and you just have to roll with them.

*Personally, I think NBC should probably do something like ESPN does with RedZone. Divide the screen into six small ones, each featuring a different event. When an especially notable event or participant comes up, it could emphasize that box by giving it half a screen.

** I'm not convinced something that relies entirely on a judge's eye for scores counts as a sport. Making award winning gin is really hard and takes lots of practice too, for instance. If "winning" comes down to the eye of the beholder, its art, not sport. That isn't to take away anything from the divers or gymnasts. Gymnasts especially are probably the strongest, most athletic people on the planet. They compete in an athletic event, but I'm not sure they are doing sport. Maybe. But take to the comments section to tell me why I'm wrong.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meditations

A couple months ago I posted about a push up challenge, and at the risk of pushing this blog into a self-help section, I'm going to post something else that I really enjoy that I think might help a reader or two (all two of you!).

Lifehacker.com currently runs what it calls "Mid-Week Meditations," which is a short story on some piece of ancient wisdom.  Oooohhhhhhh, its ancient.  Just so you know, I'm not one to fall for the whole "ancient" is best meme.

But this is legit good stuff.  They take a quote or concept from a philosopher in the past - think Marcus Aurelius - translate what the sometimes mumbo jumboish phrase means, and then kind of detail how you can apply it.

This week, its all about how to train your mind for constructive thinking.

One thing I love about the series is that it doesn't dress up the knowledge too much.  It doesn't make it out to be more than it is, or suggest that its great simply because some Greek guy said it 2,000 years …

The Dark Months

The holidays are over.  It only seems like life is over.

There is a solid three month period where holidays of various degrees are hitting you one-two-three style.  You have Halloween, which takes some of the sting out of the cooling temperatures and the disappearance of summer.  You have Thanksgiving, with rare foods and the promise of Christmas. 

Then you have a month of prepping and joy for Christmas.  You are so busy, you hardly notice how cold it has gotten.  And this year it got pretty darn cold.  And then Christmas itself.  My wife and I take a week off between Christmas and New Years, so we have that. 

Its a period so full of life.  And then the aforementioned NYE - when the cold decided to take it up a notch.

With triplets, its a little like being shot out of a cannon and taking three months to land.

But when you land, you land firmly in what I call the Dark Months.

There are no more holidays.  Yes, I realize MLK and Presidents Day are in January and February, and yes, I know…

Stop Telling Kids They Are Perfect The Way They Are

Parenting is super tricky.

You do a thing you think is great - look, I've set very strict guidelines that will make my kid a super adult and prepare them for the world - and all you do is instill them with the thought that you never let them have fun and kept them from being able to adjust to the world as it is.
OTOH, you give them no rules and be their friend, and they long for you to have given them direction and guidance and pushed them so that they didn't end up with no skills and a habit of laying around on a couch all day.
It is really the ultimate no win situation in a game that feels incredibly important to win.  As a result, I'm hesitant to give hard and fast advice on how to parent a specific child.
But there is one piece thing I think we parents need to stop doing across the board: stop telling kids they are "perfect the way they are."  
This is also a tricky, mine filled field to traipse through, because honestly, self esteem requires that we like who…