August 1st, 2021
The things I’ve read, listened to, and watched in sports, society, and skieologian-ing over the course of the last week.
The 100 Show
I wonder if they will darken the whole track, splash each athletes’ name on the homestretch with 4,000,000 watts of lazer beam action, and play dramatic music for the final of the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase? No? Why not? Those prima donna sprinters – always getting their prima-donna appetites fed.
It was Incredible to see Kerley win a silver medal in the 100, but all it had me pondering was, ‘how fast could this guy run a 400?’ This used to be his primary event, and I don’t see how it couldn’t still be his best. He is long, ripped, and obviously, as we just witnessed, has world class acceleration and top-end speed. I hope he returns to the one-lap contest soon. The showdown between him and Norman would be epic. Even better would be a 4×4 team of Norman, Kerley, and Benjamin + whomever. Untouchable.
Co-Golds in the High Jump?!
Come on! No! No! No!
This is not good. Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi just gave every sports radio host their material for the next week. If you were sick of the right wing media’ handling of Biles – which I would say was generally misguided – then get the puke bucket ready.
To be fair, if they use the men’s high jump final (Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi decided to accept co-gold medals instead of engaging in the standard jump-off to break their tie) to make a point about the deterioration of society, they might actually have a point.
I disagree with those lauding this as a pure demonstration of the Olympic spirit. I’d much rather see classy sportsmanship between athletes in spite of victory, devastation, injury, or defeat. Fortunately, at the same time the high jump garbage was being “settled,” Nijel Amos and Isaiah Jewett tripped each other up in the final 150 of the 800 meter semi-final. In the moments immediately after the elimination of two favorites for medals, their bodies (and their Olympic dreams) crashing to the ground, we saw the true Olympic spirit. There was a brief, very human moment where the two sat, heads slung, staring at their feet. Then, they looked at each other, contemplating the gravity of the moment and simultaneously acknowledging both individuals’ responsibility in it. Finally, Amos reached out his hand, Jewett grabbed it, and they embraced each other and jogged in. It was beautiful.
In a day where I fully expected a pouty dog fight and an interview laced with excuses, rants, and protests, they instead recognized they were both giving it everything they had and something unfortunate, out of their control had transpired. It is sport. The agony of defeat. The thrill of victory. You might get one. You might get the other. The inherent value of sport therefore can’t rest solely in either. It must be founded in a deeper purpose. That is the Olympic spirit. Jewett was a class act in the post-race interview, too. He basically said he was grateful to be there and was happy because he had done everything he could.
I know co-gold medals is a far cry from participation trophies, but the point remains: when you drop the order of finishers and create an artificial podium large enough for more than one person, you rob the athletes of a stage where they can demonstrate true class. Sad, really.
Painful, Painful Journalism – I’m sorry I have to keep railing on this point….
Remember the SNL skit where Andy Samberg, playing Danny Hoover, an 11-year old Make-a-Wish winner who gets the opportunity to join Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth of an NFL game, painfully but hilariously repeats the phrase, “That’ll move the chains.”? The first time, the cliche is perfectly placed, and Nantz and Simms think they have dodged a bullet – the boy’s got game! Quickly, they come to realize the natural rhythm and voice of their special guest was an anomaly, and as Nantz becomes overtly frustrated with the lack of cohesion in the booth, we belly laugh.
This is pretty much how I felt – replace belly laughing with aggrevated groans – watching and listening to the morning Peacock announcing team during the track and field events this week.
Is it just me, or do the Olympics not seem very special this year?….
Man, I would be so bummed if I was competing at the Tokyo Games. I mean, not literally bummed. I’d take it. A prominent life goal of mine is to compete for the USA at some event, in some sport, somewhere. Growing up, the Olympics has a level of grandeur that is unmatched in not only the sporting world, but maybe any other sphere. The main reason is it’s global nature. Everyone is watching.
Well, it kind of feels like no one is watching. I mean, there aren’t any fans in the stadium … and maybe that is what is causing me to feel this way. NBC’s monopoly on TV coverage is being wasted with terrible coverage, poor journalism all around, pathetic commentators in many booths (not all…), which is only adding to the sentiment. And, if you want to google what is going on in the events because, maybe, like me, you are finding yourself apathetically skipping the primetime broadcasts (and every other broadcast save a few select races), you realize just how corrupt yet another wing of society is. You have to dig, and dig, and dig, if you want to find anything NOT written by NBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, or ESPN. These places are so incredibly set on pushing a particular narrative, it’s easy to forget they are supposed to be reporting about a neutral, supposedly unifying activity – sports. Nope. Prepare to be left without actually knowing results, interesting narratives, upsets, or anything else that usually attracts us to the Games.
Keep your eyes peeled on a separate column on this next week. It will be great. I promise.
No I don’t believe, “All things happen for a reason.”
I believe all things happen for two reasons….actually. Click here to read about thoughts on that.
Why democracy doesn’t work in some places….
In reading the book Midnight in Siberia – a train journey into the heart of Russia – a premise on why some nations can’t/won’t establish democracy in their country….and why we are close to losing it here, too…. popped into my head. If you are intrigued by the poppings in my head, you should read and respond to this Skieologian post. Be prepared for some heavy Greg Bahnsen-ing and Doug Wilson-ing.