Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 31 July 2012 13:51
always look forward to the Olympic Games.
In these times so full of violence, hate, scandal, political corruption and really, really stupid children’s cartoons, it’s refreshing to see the world’s countries come together in brotherhood to participate in one of man’s most epic events, smiling warmly at each other while secretly harboring a complete and utter loathing for those other countries that think they’re so good.
Yes, it’s nice to sit down in the evening and turn the television to something other than the NCAA commanding Penn State to reseed its practice fields with poison ivy, or Obama declaring his omnipotence in the success of small businesses across America.
(Rumor also has it Al Gore invented the Internet.)
Doesn’t it feel good to have a break from all that cynicism and nitpicking?
Like 99.9 percent of the rest of Americans, wife Hanna and I are glued to the summer games. No matter what we’re doing, the TV is playing in the background so we can keep up with the Olympic goings-on.
We cheer on the USA and root for the all-American stars we’ve come to know and love.
OK, Michael Phelps is really the only one I can think of, and that’s because he’s been in all those Subway commercials. So we may not be the most sports-enthusiastic couple, but dadgummit, when it comes to the Olympics we do our patriotic duty.
The Olympics, of course, are not a completely modern affair.
The games originated back in ancient Greece in 776 BC, which you probably don’t remember. Representatives from various Greek city-states gathered in Olympia to match strengths by removing their togas and rolling around on the ground.
This was in honor of Zeus, the Greek God of Really Awkward Spectator Sports.
Of course, back then the Olympic logo only had two rings in it, one of which was always missing because it belonged to local stonemason Philotectes, and he needed it during the day to measure pillar circumference.
Also, NBC only broadcast limited coverage of the games because by the time it finished carving the footage into stone, emperor Theodosius I came along and demanded fig leaves be edited in.
This set the studio behind, and it had already planned to air a new season of “Greece’s Got Talent.”
Much has changed in the Olympic Games over the past several hundred years, and more changes are coming.
For example, the 2016 summer games in Brazil will feature a new event: Stationary Cycling.
Using modern technologies, scientists have been able to recreate the physics of terrain and air resistance so that the cyclists will experience the same kind of bicycle seat discomfort as they always have without actually going anywhere.
The bikes will be bolted to the floor of the arena, so for the first time ever the audience will be able to see the entire race events from start to finish. And for the folks watching at home, Pixar Studios will be filling in the background scenery with computer-generated imagery, complete with popular film characters to promote its upcoming film, “Toy Story XVII.”
You’ve probably figured out that I’m making up most of this, using a sense of humor that still thinks 2004-era Al Gore jokes are funny.
But you have to admit, the Olympics sure give us something to smile about.