Monday, August 11

Just Ramblin, No. 13: Favre (get over it already); Olympics

I noticed an ad on Yahoo! for Madden 2009. Brett Favre is wearing his Green Bay Packers jersey. My first thought was that they'll have retool that game now; my second thought was that Madden 2009 will become a collector's item.

Brett Favre is becoming a true part of the New York Jets. Even ran his penalty lap. But there are reports that it's a little disconcerting to have people cheering for penalty laps. Apparently the Jets have had as many as 10,500 fans out for their practices and I've heard sports commentators suggest that the New York Jets may end up with more fans this year simply because of their new #4. Good for them. And we'll just see tonight how this whole thing is going to work out for Green Bay and their QB. Not too much pressure on Aaron Rodgers, or the coaching staff. Yowza.

In the "What do I know?" department. Yes, last night's (this morning's??) showdown between the US and France in the 400M Relays was absolutely one of the best EVER swim meets I've ever seen. I love that Michael Phelps goes out first; sets the tone and pace and doesn't need to be the anchor when he knows he's not a sprinter. Every swimmer on that team had the performance of his LIFE. But Jason Lezak was THE MAN. An absolutely phenomenal finish.

Though the French tried to dismiss it--only a fingertip; it doesn't matter--well, it did matter. Coaches will tell swimmers time and time and time again that the finish and the touch can make all the difference in the world. Jason Lezak proved that last night. Still gives me goose bumps to think about it. I'd've felt sorrier for the French--all of whom also swam amazing races last night--but they did that trash talking thing.

I want to see the race a few more times because it was hard to watch the racing itself and the little WR line. I do know that in the last 50M, at least three swimmers had made the turn and were a few body lengths down the lanes before the WR line hit the end of the pool. Just incredible stuff.

Watched a little of the Olympics on MSNBC, too. I never thought trap shooting could be so interesting. But it was fascinating to watch.

What's also interesting to me is how the media is handling the collision of the kinds of news in the world. There's that little dust-up going on between Russia and Georgia, at least in some media outlets it doesn't seem to be much of a big deal. It is, of course, to the people involved, but it's as though the media can't be bothered. Are they as war-weary as the rest of us? But I was also intrigued by the attempt to make the tragedy of the murder of the father-in-law men's volleyball coach a big event, almost an anti-China event. The media didn't seem to get much traction on trying to rain on China's parade, figuratively as there seems to be enough literal rain just now.

It is a tragedy, no doubt about it. But it's not as though other Olympics have not been marred by tragic events. China is working very hard to show the world its capabilities. Let them. No system is perfect and they have a lot to prove to themselves as well as the world. However, I was far more interested in the story in the Sunday Tribune about the Chinese dissident who found himself with lots of volunteer "help," an offer he was not allowed to refuse.

And I couldn't help but wonder how many women and girls worked how many hours with little or no pay to make all those incredible costumes for the Opening Ceremonies. And then I wondered if those same women and girls would work in those same Chinese shops making the Olympic Opening Ceremony costumes for the city that wins the 2012 and the 2016 Olympics and if they'll be treated any better.

I love the Olympics and I'm so thrilled for the athletes who show such incredible delight and excitement when they have achieved medal status. It's a remarkable pay-off for dedication and discipline most of us don't understand. I didn't watch the whole of the Opening Ceremony this year. The self-congratulatory nature of those bore me. But I do love to watch the Parade of Athletes when the moment of being there truly dawns on some of them and you can tell they are having the time of their lives. I'm far more interested in the stories behind the athletes and their journeys to the Olympics and far less interested in the self-promotion of any country or any city about what it has done to "put on" the Olympics. It would be awesome if whoever won the next Olympics would make the whole experience more about the athletes and their dreams and less about the host city and country.

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