Sunday, February 12, 2006

I have tried to avoid watching opening ceremonies for the Olympics since the Winter Olympics in France, because the "entertainment" frankly resembles what I imagine a hallucinogenic trip to be.

I got out of much of the opening events as one of the Bear's friends was planning to go to Fun Night at school and asked Bear to go with her. At the last minute the friend's mom, who had planned the whole thing, opted out so she could watch something on TV called "Ghost Whispers" (I have no idea what "Ghost Whispers" is, but it must be compelling as that's the second time a mom has derailed premade plans in favor of watching it). Nice guy that I am, I picked up her slack and took the girls to Fun Night.

Got home too soon, unfortunately, and the wife and son were watching the opening ceremonies. I was OK until the US contingent entered the stadium. Right off the bat, some moron broke ranks so he could do Hulk poses in front of the camera. Next, the camera focused on some piece of fluff who was showing utter contempt (or, more likely,ignorance) for the import of entering the Olympic Stadium as a member of the United States Olympic Team by yakking on her cell phone as she slouched into the stadium. Some day when she wins the gold at the ice licking event, her grandchildren will see clips of her squawking into a cell phone, utterly ignorant of the fact that she was marching into history. And Hulk Boy, well, he may never really grow up.

Lastly as regards the US contingent—whoever designed those hats should be maimed and left to die on an ice floe.

I'm intrigued by the skeleton sleds. It's a new sport, but they look to be incredibly fast and the sledders must be pretty ballsy. Apparently the standout male in US skeleton sledding has been using a hair restorative that contains a compound that can mask steroids and allegations were made against him. He went to some international sports court with the issue and they looked at records and ruled no wrongdoing on his part. He just happened to be using that particular product. Fact is, he is getting pretty bald, which lends credence. Nonetheless, the anti-US International Olympic Committee banned him from this years Olympics. This would be the same committee that was revealed as big-time partying, hooker-buying toads during the ramp up to the Salt Lake City Olympics.

As far as the Olympics as a whole, I'm just not sure any more. Time was you had to be an amateur. Remember, Jim Thorpe was stripped of gold medals for the pentathlon and decathlon because he'd once made a few bucks playing semi-pro baseball. Baseball has nothing to do with pentathlon or decathlon, but as far as the committee was concerned, he'd been a pro. It was an open secret that the Soviet teams were state supported and the athletes received stipends. In fact, for many years the Soviet hockey team was made up entirely of active duty Soviet special forces troops. But for a long time we rose above it and sent our amateurs, who actually beat the Soviets at their own game from time to time.

Then, suddenly somebody somehow convinced the Olympic committee that professional basketball players should be allowed. So we sent teams of loutish NBA players who didn't do all that well in competition and managed to embarrass us with their behavior all the same. Then pro tennis players were given the clearance. I haven't kept track since then, but my impression as of this Olympics is that pros aren't barred at all.

Takes something away from the event for me.

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