Monday, August 22, 2016

End of the Freaking Olympics

I managed to get through the entire two weeks of the Olympics without watching a single minute of it voluntarily (there were a couple of mornings that it was on the television in public places; why is volleyball always early in the morning?). I truly believe that in a world full of wastes of time and money, the entire Olympic program may be the biggest of them all. It is corrupt from head to toe, in all corners of the earth. There are invariably scandals relating to illegal performance enhancers, cheating judges, and rigged heats. And most of all, I absolutely despise turning sporting events into contests of nationalism; I'm as much of a patriot as anyone else, in the proper circumstances, but sports is not one of those proper circumstances. Sports should be about individual and team excellence, not become a proxy for "our country/culture is better than yours." I didn't like it when I was a kid, in the middle of the Cold War, and I sure as hell don't like it now, when the USA has no real rivals. When your country wins twice as many medals as the runner-up, what does it really prove, knuckleheads? And to those that complain that some athletes and teams didn't do as well as they were supposed to--are we supposed to win every medal there is to win? The other guys are trying and competing, too, and God did not distribute athletic prowess exclusively to people that were born within the borders of a certain geographic entity. Holy shit, grow up, people.
This Olympiad also continued what is becoming a nasty tradition: it exposed the country that held them as a society that really needs to be overhauled. This is the second time in three years that the world has been made to focus on Brazil (World Cup in 2014, too), and while it isn't a complete festering dump, there is no way that you can tell me that the millions and billions of dollars spent on hosting these events would not have been put to better use improving everyday life for its own citizens. They couldn't even keep the swimming pools, for God's sake...And as time marches on, it is clear that countries that host the Olympics end up wasting the money. Most of them have ended tearing down most of the venues and facilities used during the Olympics because they have no practical use in everyday life. Seems like a big waste of money, doesn't it? And I can't imagine that Brazil is going to need most of what was being used this week ten years from now.
Another complaint about the games--why does the medal given for a team sport that takes two weeks to get through, like basketball, count the same as an individual event that takes thirty seconds to complete? It's ridiculous. Every member of the team gets a medal; why not count it as twelve in the "official" count? It's just another reason why the medal count is a joke.
On a side note--I hope anyone across the world that belongs to Narcotics Anonymous was paying attention this week. The next world convention of NA is going to be held in Rio, as it turns out, next summer. And if the Olympic experience for fans and athletes is any indicator--it's going to be a fiasco. Be forewarned. I know a few people in our area had tentatively planned to go next year, and I seriously hope that they change their minds.
And the Olympics managed to even highlight the ills and terminal rot among some elements of our own society. There were two major media sensations this past fortnight. One was the stink made over Gabby Douglas, one of the American gymnasts, not holding her hand over her heart as the national anthem was played while she was on the medal stand. The other was the unfolding story about Ryan Lochte, a swimmer that won a few medals, trashing a gas station and then fabricating an account of being robbed at gunpoint. Douglas is African-American, Lochte is Caucasian. Guess who caught and is catching more shit?... I'm not racist, and I've never been particularly tolerant of those that are. But I am getting to the point where I'm going to jump down the throat of whoever is espousing it whenever I hear it. To see it this blatantly expressed really pisses me off. Douglas has now participated and excelled in two Olympiads, and both were marred by stupid, race-inspired "controversies" that took attention away from her accomplishments. Douglas is still a teenager, by the way. Lochte is 32 years old and presumably an adult. Why is this shithead getting treated so lightly in the media and among our "fans?" Between this crap and the ongoing circus of a national election campaign, I am getting to the point where I seriously despise a quarter or more of my fellow citizens. And there is no sense of anything getting better on this front anytime soon.
But at least we are getting closer to real sports seasons. Football is a couple of weeks away, hockey is about a month away. Major soccer in Europe is underway. Baseball is at least interesting to me this year; the Red Sox are in the middle of the playoff picture as it currently stands. I don't watch a lot of television, so I can't complain about TV being hijacked by the Olympics too much, but at least my online sites aren't going to be dominated by it now. At least until the next Winter Olympics (which I hope are actually held in a cold-weather venue in 2018, not in the equivalent of Myrtle Beach like Sochi in 2014).

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