Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Vancouver, Rejuvenate Me!
I wanted to take a few minutes to say how much I’m enjoying the Olympics. By every measure, the Vancouver games have so far been a success. Everyone I know is watching. I think Vancouver has done an outstanding job, from the opening ceremony, to dealing with a record warm February. Speaking from an American viewpoint, it is so refreshing to watch skating and hockey in beautiful arenas minus the obnoxious advertising banners that litter the walls of ours. It’s so refreshing to watch sports without being subjected to an advertising backdrop that covers every available surface on which the eye might light. Commercialization comes at us here in America from 360 degrees. And in sports, it feels like 380. It has even infiltrated our college venues. We’ve become desensitized to the point where we don’t really see it anymore. This past week has made me realize just how pervasive it is.
This is the reason soccer will never be big here in the States. They would have to interrupt the game every ten minutes for a TV timeout. They already do that in football, which changes the pace and flow of the game. But enough of that.
A note on the symbol used to depict the Vancouver Olympics, a colorful humanoid with arms spread wide (or, a pile of rocks). For centuries the Inuit have stacked rocks—sometimes into human forms—to create inukshuk, which act as guideposts for people traversing the vast tundra. The inukshuk now represents friendship.
Notice the mouth in this image, open in a smile of welcome. I love that little detail the artists added. Well done!
The beauty of Vancouver and Whistler is breathtaking and when they take us inside the artfully decorated skating arenas, I think I speak for many when I say I feel like singing along to Oh Canada. Speaking of that, has anyone else noticed how the Canadians belt out the words to their national anthem with gusto and enthusiasm? Not just the athletics, but those in the crowd? The Americans chew gum and grin, some mouth a few of the words but none full-out sing. Is it that they don’t know the words? Can't reach the high notes? I know our anthem is difficult to sing, but no one is holding a microphone to their lips so it doesn’t matter if they don’t reach the high notes in stride. At the same time,however, I loved Bode Miller’s big smile when he won the gold.
I know what we’re doing tonight, watching the Russians play the Canadians in hockey. I won't say who I'm rooting for, but the kitchen will be clean and the lights will be off at puck time. To all my Canadian friends, this is a heartfelt congratulations for what I know will be a resoundingly successful Olympics. Not only do you have health care, but you know how to put on a show.