Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gearing up for History: An Intro to London 2012

   I love the Olympics. I stayed up until midnight to see the end of the opening ceremonies. I saw every single country march by in the Parade of Nations. I listened to every single fact Mr. Bob Costas was banging out about little Pacific islands I have never even heard of. The Olympics are the ultimate celebration of one of my absolute favorite things: sports. Seventeen days of non-stop sports coverage. It is a beautiful thing.
   I look forward to these things like crazy, and so you can imagine my anticipation when the opening ceremonies of these London games began. I made my family rush through my father’s barbecue dinner so we could watch them on time, and that never happens. The ultimate celebration of human achievement was underway, and I was going to be all over it like American Ariel Hsing is all over table tennis (She kicks ass, by the way. More to follow!).
   We sat down, the festivities began, and then . . . phhhhhbbttttt. The opening ceremony started out promising, the whole smoke-stack thing was neat, and when they forged the ring and it met the other four and caught fire—awesome. There were some audible wows from the living room over here. Danny Boyle, the director of the ceremonies, was off to a good start. The James Bond thing with Her Majesty the Queen was memorable, and the dream sequence highlighting British literature was nice, but then it was like Mr. Boyle suddenly realized he wasgoing to be paid as much as he thought, and decided Eh, screw it! and sand-bagged the rest of the show. I did not need any rap in my opening ceremony, and while the tribute to the Beatles and Queen and David Bowie and the rest of the famous British rockers was fine, where in the wide wide world of sports was Elton John?! The guy was freaking knighted, for the love of God!
   Finally, as if to throw a giant middle finger to the sporting world, Boyle failed to bring up a legendary athlete to light the torch. Instead, we had a few dumb kids who probably paid their way in set fire to one of the most sacred symbols in the sports universe. What the hell. The most recognizable athlete in the entire process was David Beckham, and he was never an Olympian. Forgive this burst of emotion, but why why why why why?! I stayed up until midnight for this. Over five hours of devotion. Explain. Someone explain. I could not. I still cannot. Who thought this was a good idea. These are not even questions anymore; these are bland statements. Whatever. Poop. I am over it.
   Now, I am cycling four Olympic channels watching everything from fencing to soccer to women’s table tennis (As an aside, this proves that NBC has the best sportscasters on television. The broadcaster for Hsing’s table tennis match is currently discussing how footwork and racquet placement was a huge emphasis heading into the London Games. Wow. This is someone who has delved into their announcing duties. Did you know that Hsing aspires to go to Stanford, and that her parents do not let her play table tennis unless she keeps up a perfect 4.0 GPA? The NBC guy knows. He told me himself.), and I am loving every second of it. Right now I am wondering if the yelling that occurs in fencing is louder and more obnoxious than the yelling that occurs in tennis. It really could go either way.
   The Olympics, no matter how you slice it, offers non-stop drama, non-stop excitement, and non-stop entertainment. Already, the men’s archery gold medal match has come down to the final arrow, and the women’s fencing semi-finals have seen a six-point comeback by an Italian over the gal from South Korea. This is why I watch (in addition to seeing Hsing sweep her opponent, four games to none, g-status). No matter what disappointments the opening ceremonies bring, the Games themselves never fail to amaze and astound.
   We have sixteen whole days to go. Bring it on.

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