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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scratching Our Four Year Itch

Scratching Our Four Year Itch

It’s funny how the Olympics come around every four years and make Americans care about activities that haven’t crossed their minds since the last time around. It often seems like they just make up a sport out of thin air and run with it at the Olympics. Snowboard cross? Skeleton? And for those of you not near enough to the Canadian border to intercept their TV emissions, Curling? As a close neighbor to Canada I have learned to accept their little eccentric drinking game as a sport.

We are all guilty of jumping on the Olympic bandwagon. Speaking of something I’d like to jump on, I must admit, the idea of a two-woman luge makes my blood boil. I don’t know if there even is such a thing, but I pray that there is and that there are videos I can download for my personal use.

By far the most popular events are the seemingly countless figure skating categories. The figure skating venue has become so popular that the discipline has been divided into two categories: figure skating and ice dancing. The bitter rivalry between participants of the two sports has sometimes led to violence. At the Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah a huge barroom brawl broke out between figure skaters and ice dancers when one of the figure skaters suggested that ice dancing was “fruity.” Athletes are now housed in separate compounds.

The appeal of figure skating is that is gives everyone the opportunity to be an armchair judge. In living rooms across America viewers who can’t even see their own toes—let alone touch them—watch the competition with one arm elbow-deep in a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and the other hand clasping a Pabst Blue Ribbon. “Aw, too bad. You see dat? She faltered a bit on the landing. Dats gonna cost her. Better luck next time, honey.” These armchair umpires are one hundred times more cruel and obdurate than any East German judge during the height of the Cold War. In living rooms across America heartless viewers seem incapable of even the faintest shred of pity.

Mr. Armchair East German Judge: “His technique was flawless but his eye shadow makes him look cheap. I’d deduct for that.”

Mrs. Armchair East German Judge: “How could you fall? I’m just glad that Mary Lou Retton isn’t alive to see you shame yourself. My God, man, have some pride!”

Mr. Armchair East German Judge: “Mary Lou Retton wadn’t no figure skater and she ain't dead.”

Mrs. Armchair East German Judge: “Shut up. You know what I mean. I just couldn't think of a dead figure skater. Make yourself useful and go take the pizza rolls out of the microwave. Wash your hands first; you got Ranch Doritos powder all over them.”

This dialogue shows that we Americans are a highly competitive people. We live for this.

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