Saturday, July 24, 2021

Olympics? Really?

So apparently there’s an Olympics going on?

Does anyone know about this?

I looked into it and yes, in fact, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are happening even as I type, though the logo has not yet been updated to 2021 and at this point I supposes it never will. That makes sense. They didn’t change the European soccer championship logo either.

I normally enjoy the Olympics, being as I am a great fan of all things weird and pointless (go ahead, ask me about Eurovision). There are entire categories of events that feature things I have never heard of, things that only qualify as sports because there’s no other category of human activity into which they can reasonably be put, things that make sense only to the initiated and the inebriated, and that’s really the joy of it.

Last night, for example, I watched the first half of the men’s team handball match between Brazil and Norway, and – rather like my experience watching a cricket match in England thirty years ago – I still have no idea what exactly happened other than that the announcers would periodically get very excited and when I left Brazil seemed to be leading. I consider this time well spent.

It amazes me to think that these athletes – who clearly have put a great deal of time into this and honed their skills far beyond the likes of mere mortals such as you and me – must do this even when there are no Olympics being broadcast.

They must, mustn’t they?

Surely there are Team Handball Leagues around the world, with Team Handball Playoffs and, therefore, Team Handball Championships. Someone must set these up. Someone else must watch them. I cannot fathom this, and yet there it is. And good for them, I say.

Oh, they’ll get to the usual things – the gymnastics, the soccer, the track and field – and those are always fun. But it’s the weird things that define an Olympics.

The thing is, though, that this year’s Olympics have rather snuck up on me, despite the fact that in theory I’ve had over a year’s warning. They were supposed to happen last summer, after all. A lot of things were.

It’s hard to get into the Olympic spirit right now, to be honest. There are no spectators. Nobody seems very happy about any of it. The pandemic hasn’t gone away, even if it has shifted from a threat to everyone to mainly a threat to the unvaccinated – a largely voluntary group in the United States for whom I have little if any sympathy. If you’re willfully trying to commit suicide by virus, you just have at it and stop bothering the grownups. I’m sure there will be outbreaks among the athletes – I believe there already have.

It’s been a long and draining year and a half, and for a number of reasons it is going to get longer and more draining for me before that changes and I just don’t have the energy to give to the Olympics right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind as events unfold. Maybe I’ll go back and see who won between Brazil and Norway. Maybe I’ll watch the soccer and gymnastics and track and field. The lure of the weird is ever present, and the lure of the rest of it is there too.

We’ll see how it goes.


LucyInDisguise said...

You simply must tune in for this:

(I wasn't even aware it was an Olympic event until just a few moments ago ...)


David said...

You know, I actually know a guy who competes nationally on the Senior Circuit in badminton (or did until a couple of years ago, anyway - he's in his 80s and in better shape than I have ever been) - so I know those people have Championships and such. I confess I did not realize it was an Olympic event either, though. Perhaps I'll check it out. :)

I watched some of the women's skateboarding medal round last night - the combined age of all three medal winners was 42, only because the oldest can legally drive in the US if she wanted to - and it was fun.

My favorite summer events are still the sprinters and the soccer games, but the weird stuff is what makes the rest of it work, I think.

LucyInDisguise said...

Watching the 'weird' stuff is how I got interested in Curling, so I can get right in line on that. I've seen badminton matches on YouTube, I didn't know it was an Olympic event until this morning.

Like most sports, I'll stick to the highlight reels. I've long since lost my willingness to sit all the way through the actual events (but that's just one of my many idiotsynchronicities. 😁


David said...

Sports are one of the few things left on television that I actually will sit all the way through these days - watching scripted anything just makes me antsy and I have to leave. Not sure why. Of course I end up leaving a lot of sports too, but there it is.

Curling is fun! My kids did that for a few years and I enjoyed the bonspiels. I will actually watch it on television even in non-Olympic years now.

And that's just reason 32b why I am out of step with American culture, I guess. Oh well.