08/5/12

The Flight of the Sciuridae

So “bars” are everything to an emcee.

Musicians call them measures. 4 beats.

One and two and three and four and . . . .

For the rapper, it’s like a private, inescapable metronome. Ringing in your head, quantizing every activity of life.

And, certainly in hip hop, bars universally come in pairs. A typical verse has 16. Especially to beat producers, an odd number of them is anathema. So hip hop approaches, with suspicion, anything called the “uneven bars.”

But, the way the United States’ All-Around Gold-winning Gymnast, Gabby Douglas, did it, was sort of fresh. I tore a rotator cuff and the seat of my pants just watching her routine from my couch. I’ve dislocated my entire rib cage reaching for a not too far remote. I can’t really guess about the disruption to the structural integrity of my skeleton were someone actually to lift me up to one of those bars, either the high or low.

They unimaginatively call her “the flying squirrel.” The scientific name for squirrel is sciuridae if you have a mind to throw that in a cheer or jingoistic chant.

She is the first woman of African descent, from any country, to win the all-around gold in gymnastics. This site has covered a good bit of race in sport. I think it’s pretty fair to guess that as a cultural and socio-economic matter gymnastics hasn’t been very accessible to the black athlete.

So, in a manner of speaking, when Gabby flies, she clears a bar of admission for her and her family, quite symbolically, uneven.

I don’t suspect that her victory will release the floodgates. But, as this site has observed before, it sure is a whole lot easier, as a psychological matter, to replicate success, when there is a picture of what it looks like for someone a lot like your own self.

But, her accomplishment, for a generation of girls, black and white, has flipped the whole vantage. Literally and figuratively.

In other Olympic news, Usain Bolt reversed the rotation of the Earth’s axis yesterday in order to save Margot Kidder from her performance in the 1978 classic, Superman. He also posted a sort of embarrassing wind-aided 9.63 in the 100m. Sheesk. That’s kind of slow.

For the speed of light.

Don’t forget, I’m right on pace for my medals totals predictions made here in January of this year and for my projection of the overall medals winner. I’m assuming you bet the farm as I’ve repeatedly advised.

Congrats, Gabby. And, all the girls of the universe. I’ve got two, myself, that are pretty fired up.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by Sundance.

Today’s song blog here:

Uneven Bars

07/27/12

“Have You Hugged Your Foot Today?”

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