Saturday, February 8, 2014

Olympics Thoughts

I’ve been a lifelong watcher of the Olympics. I can still remember Nadia and her perfect scores, the gut wrenching USA hockey win, and many many other events.
After college I mostly quit watching professional sports. Most recently when people would ask me who I was going to root for in the Super Bowl my question back to them was “who’s playing?” I know, that sadly, the Olympics are becoming more and more pro, but fortunately the vast majority of the athletes are not. But this isn’t what I’m going to write about. I’ll get to that in a moment.
But first, Thursday night our kitty cat passed away. She was a happy part of our family for almost 15 years. And no, this isn’t what I’m going to write about but just wanted to give some context of what was going on in my life the night before the Olympic opening ceremonies.
The next morning we started to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games and well I almost started to tear up. It was early in the ceremonies where a little girl was introducing us to the Cyrillic alphabet. She would say the letter and a word and on the screen we also saw images of many of the wonderful cultural related things that make Russia such a wonderfully fascinating country. Famous personalities, and the great and wonderful achievements of the Russian people. I’m not unfamiliar with Russian history, I’m a self-acknowledged history nut. I’ve primarily studied about the bloody and brutal Great Patriotic War against the Germans and its axis partners but I have studied some of their other history as well.
So why was I sad? Because all I could think of was that the Russian people have such potential to do even more and fabulously great things but they have a government that is rife with corruption and greed.
No, I’m not implying that the current Russia people are void of greatness, it’s just harder to achieve greatness when there are many obstacles in the way.
Peter the Great helped the Russian Empire get out of their much earlier dark ages, and I feel the fall of the Soviet Union was the most recent dark ages that their vast land had. It is unfortunate that as one of the commenters said, that there are some in Russia today that harken back to those dark ages under the Communist regime as it gave them structure. It didn’t make them materially wealthy but they could raise a family within the guidelines set by the government and seemingly have a good life.
I’m under no illusion that any of our governments on the Earth are free of corruption, just some have less than others.
I enjoy watching the Olympics as I can put my blinders on to the darker side of people and organizations and watch athletes from around the world compete. I don’t always just root for my own country but for the athlete. I’m in awe of the athletes that go and compete knowing that they are unlikely to win against a powerhouse country, but compete they do. And in these winter games I get in awe of the countries that have teams that never see a snow flake in their own country!
A number of years ago I almost quit watching the Olympics as I couldn’t stand the pathetic coverage by my countries winner bidder for covering the games. Fortunately now, with internet technology (VPN), I can tap into another countries coverage and enjoy the games again. I did that for the London games and I’m doing that now for the Sochi games.
Oh how much more enjoyable the games are when I can watch the events live, despite the time difference, and watch events that already happened at any time of my choosing. Our house doesn’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV which is a big no no in the eyes of the network’s corporate overlords in being good enough to watch my own countries coverage.
But we all know that the Olympics aren’t just about the athletes unfortunately. When the Olympic Committee is more concerned about the logos on the phones of the athletes than letting the athletes, well just be athletes, is a turn off. But I try to ignore that as best I can so that I can enjoy the games. I’m cynical enough already, so at the time of the Olympics I try to put that side of me away and just enjoy the competition.
So for you fellow cynics out there, let’s go ahead and enjoy these games despite the best efforts of the unsmiling tyrants and corporate overloads of the world and root for the athletes and hope for a better tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment