Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Olympic Fever May, In Fact, Be Avian Flu
One of the hazards of spending twelve straight summers (including my first three ever at Camp Nesher) in camps (Moshava is the other, more obvious one) of the sleeping-away variety is that you miss out on the sometimes scary jingoism and fluff-style athletic news pieces which mark the start of the Summer Olympics. The other two hazards I have in mind are 1) going more than a decade without seeing baseball's All-Star Game and 2) thinking that Tisha B'Av everywhere is a solemn and meaningful day, when, in fact, most of the solemnity and meaning are drained of the day if it is spent in O'Hare International Airport for a hour-long stopover which somehow morphes--in 47 minutes intervals--into a four-hour waiting game during which you hungrily watch as many episodes of The Simpons as your poor laptop battery can handle on (in?) it's last day before retirement.
Now, normally, there's scant little I like less than sometimes scary jingoism and fluff-style athletic news pieces. And I still don't have any patience for these things. I keep wanting to turn the volume down on the TV so that I don't have to listen to the announcer describe how sad Misty May-Treanor was when her mom died and how she (Misty) remembers her (Misty's mom) with the tattoo on her shoulder, but how also this loss led her to realize the nature of real loss teaching her to not take so seriously and personally the losses on the beach volleyball court. That type of meaningless commentary doesn't make me want to keep watching. If there's one thing sports doesn't need, it's this Oprahization of competition. I liked watching (the next morning on the internet, of course, because even in Publishing Camp they don't have TV's all over the place) Josh Hamilton knock the living crap out of the ball at the home-run derby because it was freakishly good hitting; his struggles with drugs didn't make that any cooler.
That said, I get a real kick out of watching sports we used to play in 7th grade gym class being played by world-class athletes. I could seriously go for some water-polo or European hand-ball. It's nice background noise for the summer.
And for everyone out there thinking to him-/her-self, "Y'know, with just a few years of training, I could do those flips that all those shortish scary guys are doing on TV," you should read this first.
UPDATE: Just watched some of the women's gymnastics, and, hoo-boy, that stuff is creepy. Those girls are so small.