I was watching this memorable moment in Olympic history and I noticed the old school Nike shirt. That’s what sport is about right there. Romancing your gear. I can remember fighting sleep pillow-talking my Air Revolutions in the bed next to me. I won’t repeat what I said. But, let’s just say it was pretty smooth.
The opening ceremonies of the XXX Olympiad games are tonight. Olympic athletes model something for us that transcends sport. They remind us that to build anything of significance we have to tear and pound and break down. And, to gain we have to lose. And, to win we have to fail, over and over. That there exists some cosmic rule that without pain there literally is no gain. We can’t grow crops without tilling the soil or muscle without ripping the fibers. Businesses or churches. It has to hurt.
They toil in anonymity mostly. And, yet they are derivative of a host of witnesses that have cheered them through it all, parents, coaches, friends, teachers. They run and swim and jump and laugh and cry with a crowd in their hearts. Sometimes even a father has to come down onto the track. Winning is not an individual sport. (I think that’s what Obama sort of meant.)
Poor Mitt Romney, though, has been in London this week. As you might recall, he was called in to save and, did successfully, run the Salt Lake City games. How could you forget right? So it’s been just a week of foot devouring for the GOP candidate. One misstatement after another. But, it started with offering concerns over the unpreparedness of London to host the games. Now Britain, in its typical fashion, has expressed self-deprecationg concerns about its own readiness. Security for the games, for example, has faced some setbacks. But, Romney’s comments came off, at best, as sort of ungracious and, at worst, as an attempt to make London some political point of reference for his own well-administered Olympics and management chops.
But, what Mitt misses, and maybe even London overlooks in its panic as host, is that a “successful” Olympics isn’t some logistical accomplishment. It’s not good traffic flow or sufficient infrastructure. Winning isn’t coming in administrative first place. It’s a celebration of the incalcuable sacrifice of men and women to push human physical achievement to its limits.
Biggest, fastest, strongest matters in sport. That’s sort of the point. But, the Olympics has a way of reminding us of what winning looks like even in failure. And, it has nothing to do with being a well-run event.
One last thing. And, I’m just going to go there. There’s probably a whole separate wing in the underworld for people who do what I’m about to.
But, did you hear about this “blind” archer that set the world record at the Olympics in London today? Surely, you did because it was the top story on every web domain in the entire world apparently.
Ok, look. I’m aware of the concept of “legal” blindness. My mom suffers it. And, I get that those of us blessed with normal sight stupidly assume that only pitch black darkness qualifies. But, come on.
You’re either blind and incapable of repeatedly driving an arrow, from 70+ meters away, into a tiny two inch black eye until you score a world record some 700 points. Or . . . YOU’RE – NOT – BLIND. They’re like, “He can’t even read a newspaper!” Well, if we were in the Periodical Perusing Olympiad, then I would marvel at his ability to speed read above the fold and the back page in record time. But, it’s not. So, maybe he’s blind for reading or arm wrestling purposes but he plainly isn’t blind for shooting-arrows-really-accurately purposes.
Right? Am I missing something??!
We’re not talking about blindfolding Robin Hood or William Tell for a trick shot at an apple off a maiden’s head. He’s an Olympic archer. He does this over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure he can see the target.
But, if he can’t. I’m a big, big jerkwad. Pretty much am anyway.
By the way, watching the opening ceremony as I type. Is it just me or is there an eery resemblance between the Industrial Revolution phase of the ceremony and Saruman’s Isengard? I’m medium terrified that Uruk-hai are going to birth gelatinously from the stadium floor.
Wait? Did Queen Elizabeth just base jump into the stadium?! I can’t tell if she’s furious or about to vomit. They just said, “She has a ‘wicked’ sense of humor.” It looked like she had a small Warbler in her mouth at that exact moment. She does not look pleased.
Oh no. They just panned an ariel view of a giant baby doll in the middle of the arena. And, that’s after having just forged the all-seeing Eye of Sauron out of the one Olympic ring to rule them all. This has to be the most terrifying Olympics ever.
I renege. I think Romney got it just about right.
Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.
Today’s song blog here:Torch Bear