And Now For Something Completely Different… The Olympics! #rio2016
Some folks love Baseball, some prefer Basketball, and a healthy amount eagerly await the Football season like a pack of wild ravenous hyenas looking for freshly grilled meat to eat on their tailgating excursions. Me? I don’t watch any professional sports anymore. I was a huge supporter of baseball in my youth, and I even occasionally enjoyed some basketball, but much like the Star Wars films, as I get older I find that there is no valid reason to keep supporting them anymore. My take on annual prime time American televised professional sports:
Annual prime time American televised professional sports are nothing more than grown men either chasing balls, holding balls, fondling balls, hitting balls, carrying balls, and attempting to stop balls from and/or take balls “all the way”, all while they are trying to chase each other, hold each other, fondle each other, hit each other, and essentially trying to stop and/or help each other go “all the way”.
At a certain point, if you want to watch grown men handle balls with such zest on a regular basis, then perhaps it’s time to just switch to porn. Not that that’s the only reason that I no longer watch the big name sports anymore. Pick or choose from the following reasons I can’t be bothered with them: the unnecessarily large salaries that the players command, the bad (I ain’t no role model) attitudes the players have, reading about all of the domestic abuse, animal cruelty, and felony crimes committed by the players, the multi-million dollar stadiums that the owners have the people of the city pay for, and just to re-iterate, these sports at their very core are just about grown men playing with balls. I would never condemn anyone for enjoying these type of sports, as how you absorb and enjoy entertainment is ultimately up to you. I can’t stand Will Ferrell. Literally, he has never made me laugh, not once in the history of ever. Yet, I know a bunch of folks that think he is hilarious, and that’s OK. I’ve always been an odd man out, as it were, and it’s a role that I am fully comfortable in. Point being, we should all be allowed to love what we love, whether it be sports, entertainment, people, or anything for that matter so long as we aren’t hurting others or ourselves, right?
Simply put: I Love the Olympics! I know, weird, right? I seemingly hate sports and yet somehow I love the Olympics. But I do love them, I really truly madly deeply do. The Olympics have everything! The agony and the ecstasy, the heartbreak and the triumph, and all with athletes in the pinnacle of their physical careers competing for nothing less than eternal glory in a wide variety of sports that has something for everyone. That’s right, everyone! If you love big team sports like basketball, soccer, rugby, field hockey, indoor volleyball, and a whole lot more, even baseball (which officially joins the Olympics in 2020, source: Official Olympic site), then you can watch the best teams in the world compete for the gold. If sports that feature the ultimate in athleticism are more your cup of tea, then there is track and field, swimming, wrestling, weightlifting, gymnastics, and so much more to keep you glued to your TV set (or smart device, ya’ heathens). Over 30 types of events with over 300 total medals up for grabs every 2 years with the Summer and Winter events alternating. It is a variety show of the best of the best of the best in nearly all physically conceivable categories.
Key things that I love about the Olympics:
- True athletes, real down to earth people, in sports that allow them to show off their hard work, talent, and dedication! The vast majority of these athletes do not have 6-figure endorsement deals. They are hard working people with the dedication and the drive to be champions in sports that are not normally shown on a nationwide prime time TV broadcast. They have a fearlessness about them that allows them to compete in front of millions of people all over the world in hopes of being an Olympic champion. These are an elite group who have decided to train in their sport of choice, often with no budget and sub par facilities (this is especially true for countries outside of the U.S. of A.), to make most of what they have in order to try and be exemplary enough to qualify for the games. Case in point, the Ukrainian gymnastics team had to train in a facility that had no climate control, often in freezing temperatures, because they did not have the means to repair or fund their gymnasts fully due to the unrest in their country and their ongoing struggles with Russia. Also, a lot of these athletes have jobs and/or responsibilities in their everyday life and even still they work tirelessly each day to become a champion. Their stories are the stuff of legend, and it is written all over their faces as they compete, and ultimately succeed or fail. There is a ton of drama, and real human emotion displayed throughout the 2 weeks of the Olympics. Amazing stories unfold, even for the biggest names in the games like Michael Phelps, who has a compelling story of disappointment, failure, revival, and immense personal triumph that is inspiring and in many ways relatable.
- There is a tremendous sense of patriotism that comes from watching the Olympic games. Don’t get me wrong, I am from the United States of America and I love my country (despite how things are going politically on both sides of the equation), but during the games I get up from my seat and hoot and holler like I was at a high school pep rally! Whenever I see someone from Team USA in medal contention, it gets me hyped in a huge way. It’s an amazing feeling that is rewarding in unique ways. At the Olympics, athletes from all over the globe hug, laugh, and celebrate together in a level of camaraderie that is rarely, if ever, seen in the big name prime time sports. They all have the competitive drive, but at the same time they are all acutely aware that they are part of a small and rather exclusive group of athletes, and to them that is special. It is inspiring to watch people from your community, state, or country show up in a big way at the games, and doubly so to watch them congratulate someone from another country who has just bested them. It is hard to not get swept up in the wave of emotions as your team puts up a winning performance, whether gold, silver, bronze, or in the spirit of the games.
- The pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics is without a doubt the greatest in all of professional sports. Seriously, in a world where pop and country singers perform tacky songs for Thursday and Sunday night football games, it is quite awesome to see displays of cultural and entertainment value that the host countries put on display. From artistic representations of their history, music, and growth as a nation, to their warm hospitality, especially when you think of the games recently in Sochi, Russia 2014 and Beijing, China 2008 which were well managed and beautifully maintained, even though there were so major concerns beforehand. Just take a look at the wonderful displays from over the many years of the Olympic gmaes:
- I love the individual and medley sports. Track and Field, Swimming, and Gymnastics are my bread and butter. To me, this is what truth athleticism is all about. Sure you have to be in good shape and skilled to play basketball, but you have to be on a whole ‘nother plane of existence to compete at the level that Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles compete at. They don’t play a game of chance, they play a game where only the absolutely most fit and talented will win. It’s electrifying to watch these juggernauts perform and repeatedly win medal after medal. Take, for instance, Katie Ledecky’s amazing 2016 Rio Olympics run in swimming with 4 gold medals, 1 silver, along with 2 new Olympic and World record speeds. Simone Manuel made history by becoming the first African-America woman to ever win a gold medal in an individual swimming event. Ashton Eaton became the “World’s Greatest Athlete” again, winning the Decathlon for the 2nd Olympic games in a row. All in all, there are some genuinely mind boggling performances that happen in the Olympics, and they are always a blast to watch. Check out the this brief slide presentation of the different sports and the amped up athletes that compete in them:
Waiting is the hardest part… in 2018 we have the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo Japan, and if these 2 previews are anything to go off of… we are in for another athletic treat. Personally, I can’t wait! Rio may have just ended, but I’m already hyped for the next events! Why isn’t winter 2018 already?