Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Olympics

I have always been a sucker for the Olympics. If I had the time and nothing better to do I'd probably watch every night of coverage. I distinctly remember doing that for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics when Bryant Gumble was the TV host, though other years I saw very little. The interest goes for the opening and closing ceremonies also. The pagentry of the celebration of nations is just a cool thing.

There's probably a few reasons for being a fan of the games. My father is a big sports fan. We went to watch sporting events all through my childhood. I got to learn fairly well all of the major sports (though hockey somehow slipped through the five hole). So with that background, I developed a competative nature that pops up from time to time. I was also fortunate to be fairly good at both physical sports and sports of skill. So I have the experience of many sports from the players vantage point also.

So what I find interesting in these games is both the competition and the empathy. With any sport, you can choose an athlete or team (the Japanese guy with the mohawk, the team with the cool uniforms) and root for them. Also, you can vicariously empathize with their movements through their competition. A skier racing down a hill having to make movements at certain points down the run. A runner making a move at the turn. Interestingly, I have trouble empathising with athletes who make movements I have no physical memory of. For instance, I empathize with right handed batters or pitchers, but I feel awkward with left handed players. Just as I would batting or throwing lefty. As an example, I grew a new level of understanding of hockey after playing it for a season. Knowing the movements they are going through can get you more into the game. Maybe that's why people like watching golf.

Yes, I do root for both the US and Canada. But that patriotism is not as strong as in the past. Partly because over the years I realized it is not us against them. It is equally about individual achievement. This a meeting of the greatest athletes around and that should be celebrated and enjoyed.


Anonymous said...

Completely off topic. Here's an article from the Toronto Star written by a Quebec nationalist who is trying to give Canada a chance. It highlights the fact that we really don't know each other.


Unknown said...

Thank you anonymous. That's a very good article and it's gives a good perpective on the situation in Quebec.