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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Olympics are coming... Run for it!

The Twentieth Games of the Winter Olympiad are fast approaching. I believe that even now, the peaceful citizens of Torino, Italy are feverishly preparing...preparing to pack up and go on holiday by February 10th, when the games start.

"You can't be serious, Earl!" you shout.

"Fiddlesticks!" I shout back.

"It's the Olympics!" you shout.

"Quisinart!" I shout back.

"You're just answering nonsensically to avoid a row, aren't you?" you whisper knowingly.

"How right you are," I blush back, smirking in an irresistably charming way.

Now, I love a good Olympiad as much as the next bloke. The pagentry, spectacle, athleticism, endurance, and other sports cliches all make for a whale of a good show. The advertising is best, but I understand Stew is currently working on a 12 volume encyclical on Olympic adverts, so I'll save that saucy topic for him. (So detailed is the work, that I understand Volume 7, will be solely dedicated to Mary Lou Retton, Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, and Bruce Jenner. It will be entitled "The Good, The Bad, and The Plastic".)

So, the Olympics themselves are exciting, there's no doubting that. Of course, here in America, the televising of the Olympics is horrifically boring. Watching plaster dry would be orgasmic by comparsion to the sad affair of poor Bob Costas trying to pump some excitement into 560 hours of "Up Close and Personal" segments, athlete interviews ("How did it feel to win the gold medal for your country?" "Bob... it felt good."), travelogue segments on how the Portabella mushrooms in Torino differ incrementally from the ones in Milano...spiced only by brief montages of the sport highlights during Visa/MasterCard commercials. (At least there'll be the U2 music!) Then, they come back to the studio to a bunch of sports presenters sitting with Bob and talking about how exciting the action was that day. People have been marched in front of firing squads for less than this.

As I was saying though, the Olympics themselves are quite exciting, even the Winter Games. Now, some people may take offense at that, but I am a much bigger fan of the Summer Games. Football (Soccer), basketball, athletics (track and field), football, swimming, cycling, hockey (field hockey), equestrian, boxing, volleyball, football, beach volleyball, gymnastics, judo, football, taekwondo, wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, professional wrestling, mud wrestling, tennis, table tennis, badminton, Pong, weightlifting, rounders, lawn bowls, cricket, rugby, jai alai (rounders), croquet, lawn darts, snooker (rounders), chess, checkers, foosball (rounders), tiddlywinks (rounders), Yahtzee (Milton Bradley), football, archery, darts, shooting, fox hunting, Risk, Monopoly, football, poker, spades, football, and football all make the Summer Games a thrill a minute.

[Stew Instant Messaged me to let me know I'd left out water polo and football. Silly me.]

The Winter Games on the other hand has only skiing, sledding, ice hockey, ice-skating, ice fishing, and freezing your arse off in the ice. Oh, and curling, which is my favourite, because it's so much like lawn bowls. It's simply no comparison. Now, take biathlon, which I also left out (because let's face it... it's just skiing with guns), and combine that with curling, and now you've got something. I for one would be very interested in seeing just how easy all that sweeping would be with live, high-powered rifle fire coming in just over your head. Lower the biathlon targets in later rounds and things get really lively.

Of course now I'm completely off the subject. Where was I (checks day-planner)... Winter Olympics...holiday...self-conscious chit-chat...Bruce Jenner plastic surgery joke... boring old farts at NBC...Summer Games I'd like to see...shooting at curling participants...day-planner... Ah, here we are.

Yes, the Olympics are thrilling to watch, but not in your own back yard. Hundreds of athletes from all parts of the world pulling rank and waving Olympic medals around to get the best bench table at the local Wagamamas? (How I wish there were one near where I live!) Even thousands more tourists swamping the public transport, going through flashbulbs like Las Vegas lit by strobe lights, and chucking their official Olympic McDonald's Bic Mac game pieces in the front garden? Olympic officials strutting around like Donald Trump on a "Be Mussolini for A Day Tour"? No, thank you.

I suspect there'll be thousands of Torino-ites on the beaches of Monte Carlo, Cannes, Nice, Malibu, Miami, Honolulu, Brighton, and Torquay this February, taking in the brisk winter air and loving every second of it.

It's one thing to be told that you've gotten an invitation to the world's biggest party. It's another to realize they're going to be holding it right smack in your backyard. Keep the skis out of the rosebush, would you?

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