Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Every Four Years

Just like the presidential elections, the Olympics come back to haunt us every four years. I used to look forward to the games, but these days, not so much. There was a time when anyone, through a lot of hard work and determination and a little bit of talent, could have become an Olympic athlete. Today, if you don't have big bucks coming at you, you aren't getting anywhere near the games. If there is enough money involved, I don't think a person needs to have a whole lot of natural talent anymore--just the right coaches and training. And all of that costs a lot of money. To me, the Olympics are a bunch of rich kids coming together to have a great big party and to play. And there is nothing close to an amateur athlete to be found within 500 miles of the games. Through endorsements or the fact they are paid to play their game in real life, these athletes are very rich--at the most--or well off--at the least. The spirit of the coming together of amateur athletes competing against each other, is long gone. But, I still will watch some of the Olympics--I'm just going to be very, very choosy.

Curling is a sport that I find absolutely fascinating. And that probably is because I have no idea what is going on! Also, I figure that is the only Olympic event I could POSSIBLY ever compete in. After all, I've been a homemaker for 36 years, so I should know how to sweep with the best of them. ;) I really can sit and watch curling for hours--but I don't do it very often, other than during the Olympics, so I can keep my fascination going. (We get a Canadian station on our cable system, so I DO have the opportunity to watch curling at other times, I just don't do it often.) So, curling is one event I will try to catch during these two+ weeks.

I will watch--and have already watched--women's hockey. I was very excited about it, but not so much anymore. As it is, the US and Canada have excellent hockey programs for women--mainly because it has been dictated by law. And after watching the games that Canada and the US have played already, the reports seem to be true: Either Canada or the US will win the gold and the other will win the silver. All other teams will fight over the bronze. I wasn't impressed with either the US or Canadian team, as they both ran up the scores of the games they played. So far, Canada has won the two games played by scores of 18-0 and 10-1. The US won by a score of 12-1. Not really interesting games to watch. I did, however, enjoy the Finns against the Russians--with the Finns winning 5-1. It was a good game and both teams played quite well. It is kind of difficult to find a game worth watching when the outcome is almost guaranteed--and that probably won't change for the US and Canada until the final game. Maybe I'll watch that one. I will want the US to win over the Canadians, but I certainly wouldn't cry if the Finns managed to upset everyone and take the gold. THAT I could get excited about.

And so we come to the event I normally would be waiting for the most: Men's hockey. Don't get me wrong, I WANT to be excited about this, but it is very difficult. First, I will NEVER back a team that has Sidney Crosby on it, so I want the Canadian team to crash and burn. I don't care WHO beats them, just so they beat them. And I also don't care how many people from the Red Wings organization are part of Team Canada--I just want them to lose. Of course, the hype is that Canada will take the gold because they are on home soil. Big whoop. And there are stories, ad nauseum, about how great it would be if Russia and Canada played for the gold--then every one can see the 'fantastic' Sidney Crosby play against the 'great' Alex Ovechkin. Sorry people, but I have to listen to this shit enough during the hockey season, so I don't need to hear it during the Olympics, also. Makes me want to puke. I'm not really a fan of Ovechkin, either, so I don't want the Russians to win, despite the fact that Datsyuk is part of the team. Sorry Pasha, but you have a teammate/countryman who is an ass.

Being an American citizen, I should want the US to win the gold in hockey. WRONG! After Patrick Kane's exploits of last summer, the GM of Team USA was asked if he would be allowed on the team. Burke--the GM--said there was no question about him NOT being on the team. He would be part of the team, no questions asked. I find Burke to be a loudmouth jerk (he is a GM in the NHL), but the rest of the USA organization could have stopped this from happening. I think this just made the US look very, very bad in the eyes of the world--as if there needs to be more stuff for the world to hate us over. I feel as if it would have shown the world that the US has a lot of class by banning him from playing--no matter what the outcome of the allegations were. (He plead to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct, was ordered to give a written apology to the cab driver, and pay $125 in court costs. A slap on the wrist for a star athlete. In my mind, short of pointing a gun in his face, NO 20-year-old should be beating up a 62-year-old. PERIOD.) I really feel as if the US dropped the ball on this one, so I don't want them to win the gold.

And that leaves me with only one team that I really want to win the gold: Finland. Of course, the reason is twofold. My Baby Boy is playing on the team and my ancestry is Finn. Plain and simple. Realistically, I don't think the team is as strong as some of the others, but they have an outside chance of pulling it off--and it would be quite an upset if they did. I don't actually see it happening, but I can hope. And if Finland can't do? Hopefully Sweden will repeat their gold-winning ways from the last Olympics. That, too, could make me happy.

I won't be crying when the games are done. I won't be waiting or them to begin again in four years. I'll just be happy to get back to my regular TV viewing and the rest of the hockey season. Other people can be excited over the Olympics.


Ranger Tom said...

I used to get so into the Olympics now I find myself sort of indifferent to them...

sue said...

I watched last time because the gymnast Shawn Johnson was from about 40 miles away in my home town, but other than that... I have a hard time working up interest. I'm just not that into sports.

cmk said...

I think the reason for my indifference is the attitude of the athletes. It still seems as if they aren't doing it for pride of country anymore--they're doing it to see if their endorsement deals can be bigger.

ordinaryjanet said...

I agree-seems like they all have endorsements. I wonder about cross-country and biathlon, though-do they have sponsors?

I hope those paid athletes are smart with the money they make, because one crash or fall and it's all over for them-then what will they do? The snowboarders, for example, all look like they're high school dropouts. If they can't race anymore, they'll probably coach others, but I think not everyone has it in them to motivate others.

cmk said...

janet: A lot of the endorsement deals aren't seen or known to those who aren't big fans of a sport. In hockey magazines, I see many players in endorsement ads that aren't seen anywhere else BUT in hockey-related publications, etc.

The only thing that lets me enjoy some players after reading about how much money they're making for playing a game, is the knowledge that every game could be their last. The Red Wings have a player JUST coming back a year after sustaining a concussion. It really looked like his playing days were over--and he isn't even 35 years old. (He also is NOT one of the highly-paid players in the NHL.) And many of the players, as you say, are either high school dropouts or don't have any post-high school education. Other than their sport, they don't have much else to do after their playing days are over. I AM impressed with a lot of the US hockey players, though. Many of them have their college degrees, so they have a 'fall-back' plan for after hockey. This is because the US players get to the NHL in a different route than the Canadians do. Canada has a strong junior program, etc, and the US players seem to come up the ranks through college play--which means they ARE getting an education while they play. I do like it.

meleah rebeccah said...

"I'll just be happy to get back to my regular TV viewing. Other people can be excited over the Olympics."


cmk said...