Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Down and out Down Under

September 28, 2000

Call me unpatriotic (I've been called worse, believe me), but I am thoroughly bored with these Summer Olympics that some lunkhead mistakenly scheduled in late September.

Summer is July.

Maybe August.

Before the leaves begin to fall.

Before the kids head back to school.

Maybe they don't have calendars in Australia, which would make a lot of sense if you charted the history of the country/continent.

It's no secret the place was a penal colony for England a couple of centuries ago. Why would you put calendars in a prison? Passing time is a way of life. No need in figuring out how many more days, months or years you have left on your sentence.

Having such knowledge would be bad for morale.

Those stuck in the prison colony just while away the hours on the outback putting shrimp on the barbie and drinking beer out of motor oil cans one day at a time.

One day at a time.

It's a good way to live when you have nothing for which to live.

It is a direct conflict to the Olympic Dream most athletes have devoted their lives to. They've poured their hearts into preparation for these games. For many, just being in Sydney is the culmination of a lifetime of sacrifice and training.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for these athletes for whom being in Sydney is far more important than coming home with a medal. They represent what the Olympics should be what they used to be.

This Olympic spirit has died.

It suffered an unceremonious death on a Korean basketball court 12 years ago when the United States did the unthinkable by losing to Russia. Our best college players, including Danny Manning, who just months earlier had led Kansas University to an NCAA tourney title, were beaten soundly.

The loss was only the second ever by the United States in Olympic competition and it was the motivation for sending NBA stars to Barcelona four years later. The Dream Team should have been a one-time thing a reminder to the world that the best basketball players in the world hail from the United States.

In 1996, we should have taken our chances in Atlanta with another group of college kids.

Instead, the United States loaded up again and blew the competition out of the water. It was a direct contradiction to everything the Olympics are supposed to represent.

For years, Americans held their heads high. It didn't win every gold medal, but it had integrity. While our athletes trained when they weren't making a living, athletes in other countries earned their living by training for the gold.

Our athletes were amateurs and we were proud of them. We cloaked ourselves in the squeaky-clean sanctity of the Olympics and all it stood for. Somewhere, the Olympic spirit a once-noble endeavor gave way to the Dream Team mentality. Just win, baby. And, in the process, make a ton of money through corporate sponsorship.

The Olympic spirit is now merely a myth.

The Olympic spirit is now just a mirage shrouded in blatant commercialism.

That America chose to make it this way is reprehensible.

That the International Olympic Committee chooses to continue to clutch to these claims of amateurism is laughable. Even more laughable are the television ratings, which are at an all-time low.

Then again, maybe someone should have realized that broadcasting an event 14 hours after it took place is not necessarily good for television ratings especially at this time when instant results are available, via the Internet.

That's what you get for having the Olympics on the other side of the world. Apparently clocks like calendars are another one of those senseless amenities for life in the land down under.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.