Taking the good with the bad
The Beijing Olympics are well under way, and I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I've written before about my distaste for even staging the Olympics in a repressive country such as China, and I found it very distasteful that the Chinese spent God knows how much money on an elaborate opening ceremony when it has millions of people in its own country who live in squalor and don't have enough to eat, but I guess that's (diverted) water under the bridge. Now we can either watch the Games or ignore them, and I'll do a little of both. Sunday night, I found myself watching women's gymnastics (I think the missus put some sort of paralytic substance in my snack foods, and I just couldn't get off that couch.) While I'm impressed with the athleticism of the girls when it comes to the vault and the uneven bars, I'm wondering why the floor exercise is even part of the event. The tumbling runs require great athleticism and body control, but the girls spend half their time rolling about on the ground or doing little prancy-dances accompanied by supposedly artistic hand and arm movements. Now, it might not be nearly as pretty, but I can do some of that stuff myself, and I'm a 50-year-old, out-of-shape smoker. Maybe they could just do the tumbling without the prancing. Of course, the traditional gymnastics is much preferable to the rhythmic gymnastics, which involves girls flitting about with streamers, hoops and big balls. It has as much business in the Olympics as the Nathan's hot dog-eating contest. I enjoy watching the swimming and the track-and-field events, which, in my mind, are the kind of athletic pursuits the Olympics should be focused on, but I can't understand why volleyball, trampoline and badminton, for gawd's sake, are on the schedule. It sounds like the activities at a backyard keg party. If this is the direction they're heading, I'd like to be the first to nominate kickball, Wiffle ball and Cornhole for the 2012 Games. And if anybody still has a set of Jarts, bring 'em along.