Alone With J
By J SWYGART
Are you all geeked up about the London Olympic Games?
Does anyone know when they start?
What? They’re almost over? Shucky-darn.
Oh well, with that news now firmly in hand, it seems I’m well on my way to a personal Gold Medal in Olympic viewing — the failure to see even if a single minute of this year’s Games.
Truth be told, it has not been an accidental omission. It was a very conscious one. Each night for the past 10 days or so, as I’ve been lounging in my old La-Z-Boy (official recliner of the 1984 Olympics) and sipping on a cold glass of Jack Daniels (official liquid depressant of all Olympic Games since 1912), my TV remote has alerted me to this or that Olympic event being broadcast.
Badminton? Umm .. I’ll pass. Air rifle semi-finals? Yawn. Beach volleyball? Okay, there is a certain allure there, if you get my drift. But no.
Men’s basketball? Let me think a moment. Pampered U.S. millionaires vs. some goat herders from Tunisia? No thanks. (And by the way, isn’t basketball mostly a winter sport? I went to a basketball game once, and I seem to remember wearing a coat ... or something.)
Swimmers who, thanks to their success in previous Olympics, have raked in mega-bucks worth of endorsements? Nope. Millionaire tennis players from all over the globe playing for a big prize on London soil? Didn’t we just do that a month or so ago?
Anyway, the professional bent of the Olympic Games in the 21st century, in a nutshell, is the primary root of my newfound disinterest. Maybe it’s just one more way of showing my advanced years —having forsaken the use of Grecian Formula (official men’s hair-coloring gel of the 1976 Olympic Games) — but I will continue to yearn for the days when Americans sent nothing but amateur athletes to the Games. Who cares if other nations sent professionals? There was a time when winning, especially under those adverse conditions, actually invoked pride.
There have been, I’ve heard, some feel-good stories from the London Games. Some guy with no legs running his heart out; cute little gymnasts doing cute little things; marriage proposals following heartbreaking losses.
But before I tune in again for Olympic coverage, they’re going to have to spice things up a little. How about duct-taping porcupines atop the high hurdles? Now that I’d watch. Or turning rabid mountain lions loose on the steeplechase course. Bet we’d see some new world records there! Alligators in the pole vault pit? Now that’s entertainment.
LeBron slam dunking over some little dude from Albania? Not so much.
J Swygart is the opinion page editor of the Decatur Daily Democrat.