I Fucking Love The Olympics And Here's Why
When I was a kid I used to keep a dossier on my favorite Olympians in a pink spiral-bound notebook. I've stopped doing that, but I still look forward to the Olympics like they're Christmas. I've always liked the winter games marginally more than the summer ones because of their contents (downhill skiing! ice skating! luge! bobsled! that weird event where they cross-country ski and shoot things!), though in the end it doesn't really matter -- I was as excited on the opening day of the London Olympics as I am today about the Sochi ones.
Fuck bowling, let's watch the Olympics
But as much as I enjoy the weird events, respect the talent and hard work of all the athletes, and feel a warm surge of patriotism when America wins the gold, it's the stuff around the periphery of the Olympics that I appreciate the most.
I laugh at the campy theatrics of the opening ceremonies. I'm gripped by the human-interest stories, especially when they show footage of athletes walking around their hometowns looking contemplative as they reflect on their Journey to the Gold. I enjoy cheesy commentary by tired TV personalities who have been sitting in the same makeshift broadcasting booth for hours on end. I read every single would-you-believe?! article about athletes' diets and sex in the Olympic Village.
There's something so refreshingly earnest about the whole spectacle.
Most of all, I love that as a nation we are mesmerized by this collective frenzy about things we did not care about two weeks ago and will not care about two weeks from now. The Olympics unite us; they give us a shared vocabulary. I'm no expert on winter sports, but for the next few days I will be able to throw around obscure lingo about the Super-G and short-track speed skating with the best of them.
To avoid the Olympics is to avoid an essential part of the American social experience. So, Joe, you can grouse all you want about how the Olympics are shallow, designed for people who don't care about sports. But I'll be glued to a TV screen following along with the rest of the country. Call me if you've decided to join the crowd.