August 17, 2008 Seth Perkins

XXIX Olympiad

I’m not a sportsbuff.  I’m hardly sports-competent.  However, when the Olympics come around, I’m glued to that screen.  I am a member of that crowd cheering the swimming team and hoping for Phelps to break Spitz’ 7 Gold Medal record.  (My dad and I stayed up late watching just that moment last night when it happened.)  Beach volleyball?  Cool.  Track?  Cool.  Gymnastics? Oh yeah!  I don’t care.  I’m there.  Just about the only thing that doesn’t grab me is synchronized diving: just doesn’t do it for me, though I can appreciate the time it takes to put together a real team.  

I have been a little put-off by the over-the-top commercialism of this Olympics.  I know it’s a great advertising opportunity and all, but seeing the US Team parading in with big Ralph-Lauren Polo logos on their chests didn’t impress me, and I gotta tell ya, the McDonald’s ad with the supposed Olympic teammembers “going for the gold” starting their day with a fried fillet of chicken?  I don’t believe that.  I sincerely hope their isn’t some kid out there, wanting to start his Olympic career with the supposed regimine of a friend chicken sandwich every morning.Laughing  I can just see the headline.

You know, though, I can put that aside.  Seeing these people, from all walks of life, from all different cultures, do these Herculean feats just astounds me.  Moreover, just seeing one volleyball player pull an opposing team member out of the sand, or seeing a swimmer stall a race so another competitor can get her swimsuit replaced… that’s what really grabs me.  The Olympics are about building international relationships, and that’s what I enjoy even above seeing someone smash records.  I love seeing the closing ceremonies when everyone is together on that field sharing a singular moment.



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