Friday, February 21, 2014

I couldn't name a single athlete competing this year. Not one.

So it's becoming retrosopectively clear to me that I've chosen a poor couple of days to start a week of blogging. I'm just a) busy and b) bad at time management. So... I guess I'll just go over a list of things I did? That's usually a solid space-filler. I mean, subject.

--Thanks to the Olympics, my TV watching has dropped by a considerable amount. If only there were always sports events I'm uninterested in seeing preempting my regular slot of shows.

....Okay, I think I should get into my Olympics rant here. I have a lot of issues with the Olympics. Most of them are fairly easily dismissed. There's the aforementioned TV show thing, which is a dumb thing to complain about because my shows are coming back, and TV channels should be catering to what people want to see anyway; just because it's not my preference doesn't detract from anything's merit. There's the idea that the Olympics cater to industrialized entertainment under the veneer of jingoistic nationalism, but it's hardly the only endeavor that does that. I guess what really bugs me is what the Olympics say about the nature of national pride. Take yesterday's big event, the Canadian women's team winning gold for hockey. I don't doubt that these women are highly skilled. From everything I've heard, they played a damn good game, and they've worked hard to reach that point.

My issue, though, is that I don't think I really have any grounds to be proud of them for that. Or more accurately, I feel like I don't have the right to be proud of them for that. The only thing these women and I really have in common is that we're from the same country, which for me, since I was born here, is mostly geographical fluke. I suppose I could take pride in the fact that the Canadian government sees fit to sponsor and promote highly talented individuals to represent the country, but that feels like a pretty distant process too, since I've pretty much done nothing to support that endeavor. More importantly, even if I did get really into an Olympic team, the way the media coverage of these events work is that they only get spotlights every four years. To support a team's performance in the Olympics is to start caring for them only after they've already reached a high level of success to earn their spots in the first place. It's less putting an emotional stake in someone whose career I've watched flourish and more jumping on a bandwagon in the last round of the Stanley Cup.

It's not quite the same as supporting a favorite hockey team, or a franchise that plays hundreds or dozens of games each year. Then, you can follow teams on a regular basis. You can trace ebbs and flows in the team's fortune, buy regular tickets, be a fan. I suppose one of the appeals of being an Olympic fan is that it's much less in terms of commitment; it's calling for your attention for a few weeks once every two or four years rather than on a fairly constant basis. And for a lot of sports, it's the only opportunity we get to see some of these athletes ever, especially women's teams, because commercialized sports made their picks on who got to be popular a long time ago. (Although in the age of easily distributed video, really, every sport should be able to maintain SOME online presence.) But at the same time, following the Olympics does feel like a shallower option.

I don't have anything against people who do get really emotionally invested in the Olympics. I don't get it myself, but there are lots of things I don't get that have value And I have nothing but respect for the athletes. I kind of resent the implied invert of the statement, though, that if watching the Olympics is a patriotic duty, then not watching is un-patriotic.

I guess all I'm saying is that I'm looking forward to the point where I can go back to my regular viewing, and continue being conflicted about Suits instead of not watching sports.

Later Days.

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