Why I Stopped Watching the Olympics
“I speak for all mediocrities of the world. I am their patron saint. Mediocrities everywhere, I absolve you all,” Antonio Salieri, Amadeus (1984)
Although I’m in no way athletically-inclined, a true athletic mediocrity, I was looking forward to watching the Summer Olympics as a diversion from the daily battle with the Neighbor from Hell. I’m not keen on every sport in the Olympics – tennis, for instance, just leaves me bored. But I enjoy the swimming and track and field events. Basketball, especially women’s basketball, is not on the top of my list, but it was either that or take part in the Tattooed Lady Throw, for which I’d score foul points, so Women’s Basketball it was.
The Americans were playing against the Chinese. One of them – I’m not sure which: 7, 10, 11, or 13; I only know she was very tall and muscular – spent most of the time I watched (which wasn’t long), fouling the smaller Chinese players. The last time I knew or cared anything about basketball, knocking opponents out of the way, pushing them, shoving, and even sending one tumbling in a somersault was a considered a foul. Not once did I hear a whistle or see any flags. I never saw the Chinese players who were fouled given a chance at the basket. The game simply went on its merry way, with the Chinese losing to the U.S. 114-66.
Far be it from me to root for the Chinese against my own country’s team. Still, after I watched this amazon knocking the Chinese players down like bowling pins, I began to hope that the Chinese would win. What kind of game was this? What happened to fair play and good sportsmanship? I’d heard that basketball was the most violent, unsportsmans-like game in the whole world of athletics, even past football and rugby. When I saw it, I believed it. I turned it off and haven’t watched the Olympics since.
There’s another reason I turned off the Olympics. That’s when I heard on Rush Limbaugh’s program that the Olympics were rigged. Only a country’s three top-scoring players could compete. That meant that if a fourth-ranked German diver was better than, say, a first-placed Australian diver, he still couldn’t compete. This is all part of the New World Olympics evidently, as we witnessed in the Opening Ceremonies.
The Olympics are no longer about watching the best, the most-skilled compete, but the mediocre, the violently aggressive. Socialism triumphs over Athleticism. Instead of gold, silver, and bronze medals, perhaps they’ll hand out brass, aluminum foil, and lead medals. They’ll cost much less and everyone can then get a brass-plated participation award and everyone will be happy.
I turned on the Olympics to watch winners and I wound watching whackers and whiners instead. We can’t all be winners, but surely we can do our best and if we lose, lose with good grace and sportsmanship and not need society to hand us consolation prizes. Pity is a very poor consolation prize indeed. Such a thing, rather than consoling us, magnifies our mediocrity.
We mediocrities would rather you just let us leave the field in peace. Even if we go home without a medal, we will still, at the least, retain our dignity.