Category: Olympics

[Business Day One] Olympic Dashboard

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I’m still in an Olympics state of mind, so I’m going to spill some info on you in the most efficient way I know of: conversation-inspiring bullet points! Here we go!

-I have had a sinking suspicion for the past week that many Olympic commentators were secretly wishing that Michael Phelps would fail to pick up eight gold medals. Why? Because it’d make a better story. Pundits would be able to dissect possible reasons why for months to come. Every news agency would be clamoring for that first “what was it like to come up short” interview. Sports shows feed on this kind of thing; human tragedy is much more compelling of a story than human triumph. Maybe that’s why they heap on the pressure – it’s as if the media was trying to do its part to manufacture a story of heartbreak and sadness.

-I check the Medals Tracker once a day. Currently, the US leads in medals but China leads in overall golds. I spent most of my morning commute trying to figure out what exactly that represents, but nothing convincing materialized. I guess I should just start chanting “USA!”

-The Men’s Basketball team nearly doubled up Germany a few hours ago. I’ve often heard that the secret to basketball success is to peak at the right time. I’d say hanging 106 on a team with NBA players on it counts. The big different, best I can tell, between this year’s team and the previous manifestations is defensive tenacity. I’m seeing our smalls diving into passing lanes and doing their darndest to pull down rebounds. I never got that sense in years past. They’re playing with pride. That makes them an easy team to root for, even with Kobe Bryant on it.

-My favorite player on the soon-to-be-gold-medal Women’s Softball team is Crystl Bustos. She’s like Babe Ruth, in terms of separation between her and the rest of existence in terms of homerun power. If you have an opportunity to watch a women’s game, pay attention when she’s at bat. Like Ruth, when she steps into the box, the expectation is homerun.

-Chicago is in the running for the 2016 games. I hope that it comes here, just so that I’ll be able to watch things at a reasonable hour.

-So far, these are the controversies that I’ve counted in this year’s games: Lip synching girl during opening ceremony, computer generated fireworks during opening ceremony, a murder, underage Chinese gymnasts, pollution, Tibet protests, media censorship, mass displacement, and the paying of fans to fill seats. All things considered, not too bad for a gruesomely oppressive government.

[Business Day One] “He Looks Like A Shark”

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I spent a long weekend on the Cape, and despite the availability of lobster rolls, sandy beaches, mini golf and hot tubs, my attention kept drifting to the Olympics.  I didn’t care much for Athens, and I don’t really follow the winter events, so this has been the first time in at least a decade that the international competition mattered to me.

I’m not sure what spurred the interest, really. I’ve done my best to keep pre-Olympic hype on a slow drip instead of an overdose-causing deluge, and picked my stories carefully. I decided that I’d care about Michael Phelps, the US Men’s Basketball Team, and any other Americans that I happened to notice competing when I flipped the television on. The results of this have been good so far. I’m able to pick up and watch whenever I want and also have specific races or matches to look forward to.

The Olympics is best enjoyed as a grand three week buffet. Try a little of everything, find out what you like, and keep going back to that over the course of the affair. Don’t binge or you’ll get tired of it. Don’t avoid it completely or you won’t be able to talk about how awesome it all was afterwards. Speaking as a buffet and sports enthusiast, I feel this analogy holds.

So try to log some time watching. Despite the generally gruesome political and economic climate of late, there’s some splendid purity to be seen in the pool, on the court and in the sand.

Mascots Are Everywhere


Baldwin the Boston College EagleRecently the internet pipe trucks have been full of mascot news and stories, and I’m not one to buck the trend. But before I get into the links I have a story. Back in my college days, I had a terrible job. (Well, maybe job isn’t the right word because the only “payment” I received was a pair of pants. And not good pants, maroon warm-ups — like the athletes that are sitting on the bench wear.) So, back in college I had this terrible work-like activity I did.

I didn’t gain any recognition for what I did, but everyone got to see me (sometimes even on TV). I had to work at random hours. I was punched by kids of all ages, but I also got my picture taken with even more kids. I did get to wear cool credentials that gave me access to the secret underground tunnels. Sometimes there was even some free food. I had to ride in a bus with either the cheerleaders or the band. It was my choice, but how do you make that choice? On one hand, you have some decent looking women who are completely vapid and only want to talk about which members of the football team they’ve slept with. On the other hand, you have a group who barely dates outside the group and have limited social skills. (I usually went with the band — a nerd really can’t fault someone too much for their social skills.)

I was Baldwin, The Boston College eagle. Read More