Last couple of nights my Dad, who usually never watches TV, decided to avail himself of our cable in order to watch the Olympics. After my esteemed parent finally realized that he had better head home if he wanted any chance of staying awake behind the wheel the next morning, I have reclaimed my cable. For whatever idiotic reason (probably extreme laziness), I have not switched channels right away, and watched a bit of the Olympics; and I immediately remembered why am I not a sports fan, and why I have been steering clear from Channel 4.
To begin with, Olympics are supposed to be something along the lines of people getting together in friendship, forgetting all the strife, and just cheering on for the greatest athletes in the world (yes, I know it is a load of horse's turds, but still). So, why in blazes is the Olympic committee even considering to bestow the honour of hosting such show of brotherly love on the countries which are notorious for their horrific and systematic human rights violations? I remember reading all different kinds of tripe about pros and cons of boycotting the Olympics once it was known that China was going to host it. Basically, who cares about the followers of Dali Lama being tortured and killed in Tibet, or Chinese prisoners being executed to harvest their organs for sale, when we can have such spectacular show of fireworks and athletic prowess? Add to that the wonderful telecasts of all the terrific new things build specifically for the Olympics, the spectacular fireworks, the grandeur, the pageantry, the unity of nations; all that beauty, only occasionally spoiled by the show of all the old dilapidated houses that were demolished in order to create all that beauty, and poor people who used to occupy those houses. Basically, we got a terrific demonstration of the great quote the Edmund Burke supposedly never said.
The other sad part? Since there is practically no chance that all the countries are going to boycott the Olympics once they are designated to be hosted by a tyranny, the following scenario will inevitably follow. Once the democratic country decides to boycott the Olympics that are hosted by a tyrannical one, the people who will suffer the worst are that country's athletes; that is precisely what happened back in 1980 when my step-mother country was the host. Which brings me to another aspect of professional sports that I despise on principal.
Being second best is not good enough. These people train very hard; from a pretty young age they work non-stop under very grueling conditions in order to achieve unbelievable physical prowess. And after basically sacrificing normal life and childhood, being second best in Olympic competition is a failure. These few minutes that I watched were of women's group gymnastic competition; I could not get out of my mind the defeated expression on Alicia Sacramone's face after she fell, especially the second time. The girl it only twenty years old, for goodness sake! And what she is capable of doing as a gymnast is nothing short of amazing; but she looked like her life is over! Of course, being the lover of conspiracy theories, I felt that judges deliberately made her wait her turn for about fifteen minutes in order to rattle her (the conspiracy that was seconded by the team's coach the next morning). Yes, I know it's professional sport and not a charity ball, but the whole concept just makes me very sad.
And that, my friends, is why I stay clear from watching any and all sports competitions. The only consolation from not switching the channel that night was watching our swimming team getting their gold, and the subsequent playing of our National Anthem. That always warms my heart: seeing a scene in a foreign country, with audience full of America haters having to listen to Star Spangled Banner. For this, hurray to all our gold medalists!