Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic Scrooge

I'm trying to get the Olympic spirit.

My husband, who normally can't sit still long enough during the day to be a big TV-sports-watcher, loves the Olympics. The guy doesn't even stay up to hear the winner on election nights, but had to stay up to see the cauldron lit last night:-)

My good friend Angie is the biggest Olympic fan I know, normally hosting Olympic-themed parties just for the occasion. Today I even got an email from my big sister Erin on how the Olympics are a holiday celebration in her family.

I get how other people see it as countries putting aside their differences to celebrate sports. But you have to turn a blind eye to see the Olympics as non-political (just ask Joey Cheek).

I'm trying--not to turn a blind eye but to change my focus. Trying to turn my focus away from the insane amount of money spent by the hosting city, (reportedly $40 billion by China this time), away from the nationalistic celebrations that leave all the peace rhetoric sounding hollow, away from the cheating and the failed drug-testing, away from the over-the-top drama that NBC uses to turn a feel-good success story into slick salesmanship, and away from my general annoyance that our TV is on more than normal for the next 2 weeks.

Least I be haunted by a ghost of Olympics Past, Future and Present, I'll remind myself of who I was in 1980, thrilled at 10 years old to be watching the Olympics on my granny's telly in Ireland when I knew none of my siblings back home could.

I'll remind myself of Aidan (who has completely caught his father's Olympic spirit), telling us tonight of his plans to medal someday in soccer, swimming and especially the high bars.

And hopefully, despite the flashy montages of NBC, I'll see the individuals from around the world whose talent and dedication have led them to this moment, whose sacrifice and hard work can cure even this cynic.

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