So here we are again, in another Olympics year. Longtime friends will recall that I’ve been “covering” both the Summer games and the Winter games of the Olympics for years, including a period of time that ended up serving as the chronicle of my first massive nervous breakdown.
Any snark aside, I truly love the Olympics. I love them because there’s a lot of evidence that we are devolving as a species, and the Olympics gives us hope that might not be the case. The fastest person to ever swim and the fastest person to ever run are both alive right now, and although they are exiting their peak years, they have served to inspire many others to strive to be better at being humans. At least physically. And hey, they usually serve to be relatively decent role models, as well! Sure, Michael Phelps smokes dope and got a DUI. So did I! I learned from it, so did he. All those individual human stories make up an epic narrative, and that’s what draws me in. I’m rarely invested in professional team sports (because we don’t have any teams in Louisville, what am I supposed to do, pick a team from somewhere else because I like their logo?) or college sports (because it’s institutionalized racism that black kids bust their ass for zero pay while rich old white men generate ridiculous revenue off their sweat, and I can’t let it go).
There’s a lot of hope and grace in the fact that Summer Games years fall on election years. This year’s election is probably the most depressing/frightening one in my 37 (38? How old am I?) years. I still think of politics as one of the four subjects you avoid in social conversation, but it’s pretty clear to me that Something Very Scary could happen in November. But before I ruffle any feathers, here’s a bit of perspective on that:
Hey, look, we can all just shift our interest to Rio! It’s a beautiful place, and it’s a tropical paradise. There’s nothing that could go wrong…
Let’s hope for the best, and if you pray, pray for Rio.